TUI has just announced that a new TUI Magic Life Club will be built on Cape Verde. One of the country's key partners is the TUI Group. TUI today brings more than a third of all guests to Cape Verde. In addition to the numerous new employment opportunities in the hotel and excursion business, the tourism group supports the sustainable development of the destination through projects of the TUI Care Foundation, such as the protection of sea turtles within the framework of its “TUI Turtle Aid” initiative.
As one of the TUI Care Foundation's key environmental programmes, TUI Turtle Aid will protect the welfare of 1 million new-born turtles by 2020. Therefore, TUI Care Foundation works with local organisations on Cape Verde, but also in Turkey and Greece. The initiative also entails innovative research and protection methods which will help to protect the endangered global sea turtle population. The foundation is working with the organization “Project Biodiversity” and “BIOS.CV” on the two islands of Cape Verde.
The Cape Verde archipelago supports the third largest Loggerhead nesting populations in the world, and the second most important in the Atlantic Ocean overall. Five of the seven existing marine turtle species can be found in the Cape Verdean waters. Various threats, such as poachers, by-catch, as well as climate change – that is causing severe egg mortality on the nesting beaches – have also made of Cape Verde the host to one of the eleven most threatened populations of sea turtles in the world.
In order to tackle these problems, TUI Care Foundation supports local projects which aim to protect turtle’s nests on the beaches, increase hatchling survival rate and engage the community and local stakeholders in protecting Sal Island’s marine turtle population. In addition, ongoing outreach and engagement programmes help to strengthen local capacity in terms of on turtle conservation competencies.
Activities undertaken include early morning and night patrols, as well as relocation of doomed nests into hatcheries, rehabilitation of sick or injured turtles, and environmental educational programmes in schools. Local tour guides are also taught about best practices on turtle watching excursions and stands are placed in partnering hotels where volunteers raise awareness of the importance of protecting turtles and give practical advice to visitors to help them enjoy their holidays in a responsible manner. The involvement of hotel partners is crucial in order to foster responsible beach use, waste management and promote sustainable excursions.
With recently-approved legislation expanding the scope of national protection for sea turtles and their nesting areas, 2018 marks a pivotal moment for sea turtle conservation in Cape Verde. Support from the TUI Care Foundation will provide critical resources to ensure both organisations can continue to build on existing programmes and further broaden their impact.