12 March 2020

Sustainable tourism in Africa

How TUI contributes to Cape Verde’s success storOffering a wide range of measures, TUI promotes wildlife conservation, environmental protection and cultural exchange in the African continent

“Better Holidays, Better World“ is TUI’s sustainability strategy launched in 2015. It has been initiated by Europe’s largest travel group to advance more sustainable tourism – within the Group, with its partners along the tourism value chain, and on the ground in the travel destinations. The sustainability strategy is also implemented in Africa, where TUI carries out a wide range of different measures. Implementation starts as early as during the hotel planning stage. At ROBINSON Club Agadir, located directly on a sandy beach sprawling over many kilometres, solar panels have been installed on numerous roofs in the resort. Covering a total area of 950 square metres, the panels constitute the largest solar system operated by a hotel in Morocco. The power generated and the energy recovered from the air conditioning system are used to produce hot water and heat the pool landscape. They cover around 70 per cent of the hot water requirements of the hotel rooms. TUI’s hotel brand RIU, including the hotels in the Cape Verde Islands, exclusively offers customers compostable straws, considerably reducing plastic waste.

Moreover, TUI’s own round-trip brand TUI Tours is increasingly placing sustainability into the focus of the customer experience. Travellers taking part in the multi-day tours get to know the country and people in different countries at intensive encounters. They benefit in particular from the efforts undertaken by TUI’s travel reps, who play a particular role in facilitating cultural exchange. Safaris, for instance those offered in South Africa, are conducted by ‘glocal guides’ – global locals, i.e. local travel reps who speak the customers’ language and are able to evaluate their cultural background. All guides complete the training programme of the TUI Tours Academy through e-learning and face-to-face training sessions. The training modules incorporate a number of sustainability elements including animal welfare, human rights, and child protection. The programme promotes understanding of sustainability in tourism and comprises practical measures such as programmes to reduce plastic waste.

Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

All excursions featuring animals have been audited

Wildlife conservation plays a key role in Africa. TUI was the world’s first tourism company to carry out animal welfare audits. All excursions featuring animals offered by TUI Group have previously undergone an independent audit against the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism. Environmental protection, including protection of endangered wildlife species, is also one of the priorities of TUI Care Foundation. TUI Care Foundation is an independent non-profit foundation through which TUI Group invests in sustainability programmes at the destinations. The more than 30 programmes run by the foundation around the world include a programme to protect sea turtles in Cape Verde. The archipelago hosts the world’s third largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles. In cooperation with local projects in the island of Sal, TUI Care Foundation protects the nesting grounds of the sea turtles on the beaches and engages inhabitants and local stakeholders in the wildlife protection measures. The initiative includes outreach and engagement programmes. Moreover, local tour reps are taught about best practices on turtle watching excursions. In partner hotels, volunteers raise awareness of the importance of protecting turtles and offer the guests practical advice to help them enjoy a sustainable holiday.

Protecting 15,000 elephants

Apart from sea turtles, TUI Care Foundation also promotes the protection of elephants. It has joined forces with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in order to stop poaching of elephants and prevent human-elephant conflict in Kenya’s Tsavo Conservation Area. In Tanzania, local farmers have completed the TUI Elephant Aid programme, teaching them how to protect their crops from elephants through animal-friendly solutions and fostering harmonious coexistence with these ancient creatures. The goal is to protect a total of 15,000 elephants in Africa and Asia.

The sustainability commitment also focuses on education and selective promotion programmes for young people. The Ecokidz programme, for instance, has already taught more than 1,500 kids in South Africa how to preserve and respect the natural environment. The programme includes stays at Krueger National Park, enabling the young people to see the wild animals up close. In Egypt, the “lab of tomorrow“ initiative co-sponsored by TUI aims to develop and promote vocational opportunities in the tourism sector. Examples include Morocco, where TUI Care Foundation also promotes projects offering training to become bike tour guides or bike mechanics as well as women’s cooperatives producing argan oil products in rural areas.

“Tourism has an enormous creative power that goes far beyond holidays,” emphasises Fritz Joussen, CEO TUI Group. “Wherever TUI Group invests, we also generate income, education, infrastructure, medical care and many other aspects directly benefiting the local population. In emerging economies and developing countries, in particular, I have witnessed time and again how tourism opens up new perspectives for local communities. As a leading tourism group, we want to continue to use our influence to initiate sustainable change. Of course, this also includes protecting the environment and the climate.”