A sustainable tourism charity is celebrating after receiving a generous donation thanks to a first-of-its kind fundraising commitment from The Midcounties Co-op Travel.
The independent business was the first travel agent in the UK to commit a guaranteed contribution from every holiday booking to sustainable tourism charity, the Travel Foundation.
By pledging to donate 50p per booking, The Midcounties Co-opTravel has generated £21,440 over the last nine months - with help from some generous holiday-makers who embraced the £1 opt-in scheme, whereby they were asked to donate £1 to the charity on all holiday bookings.
An independent UK charity, the Travel Foundation funds and manages over 30 projects in 16 destinations, showcasing best practice in efforts which improve the well-being of destination communities, protect the environment, and enrich the tourism experience. The bumper donation will go towards three specific projects across the world.
Rural villages in Cyprus have suffered as coastal tourism grows, so the Foundation’s ‘Cyprus Village Routes’ project has developed six self-drive routes to draw holiday-makers inland and help to spread tourism across the island. The donation will help to upkeep and manage these routes, which are now central to keeping the heart of Cyprus alive.
The second beneficiary will be ‘The Roots’ project, which aims to help improve tourist experience and embrace local culture in the villages of Albreda and Juffureh in the Gambia – which rose to fame in Alex Haley’s novel about Kuntah Kinteh, ‘Roots’.
The third project similarly helps to reduce the ‘hassle factor’ often experienced by tourists to less-Westernised destinations. The ‘LINC’ project aims to support local livelihoods whilst negating the hassle culture that has developed on the beaches of Sri Lanka by educating and building relationships between beach vendors, tuk-tuk drivers and hotel and beach owners.
Sue Reid, General Manager, Travel Distribution, at Midcounties Co-op Travel, said: “We strongly believe in sustainable tourism and are incredibly proud to be able to make this substantial donation to the Travel Foundation thanks to our guaranteed contribution scheme and also the generosity of our customers. It’s always important to support communities in need and delicate eco-systems, but in this International Year of Co-operatives it has never been more relevant to try and help to build a better future for people across the globe.”
Sue Hurdle, Chief Executive for the Travel Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that Midcounties has made such a generous donation to the Travel Foundation and would like to say a huge thank you to all of its staff and customers. As an independent charity we rely on the generosity of individuals and companies to continue our important work. The money raised by Midcounties and its customers will be put to good use helping people and protecting the environment in tourism destinations all around the world.”
The donations to the Travel Foundation were collected through Midcounties Co-op Travel high street branches and online at www.cooptravel.co.uk
Notes to Editors
The Midcounties Co-operative has its headquarters in Warwickshire, with trading outlets in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and the surrounding counties.
The Society’s trading groups are food retail, funeral, travel, pharmacy, childcare nurseries, employee benefits and energy. The Midcounties Co-operative is the largest independent co-operative society in the UK and has more than 470 branches, and 245,000 active trading members. It is in The Sunday Times Best 25 Big Companies To Work For list for the second year running.
The Society's mission statement is 'To be a successful consumer co-operative working towards creating a better, fairer world, and to enhance the lives of our colleagues, members, customers, and the communities we serve'.
For more details call Felicity Cross or Lorna Bishop at Seal on 0121 616 5800. Visit www.midcounties.coop
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives, highlighting the contribution of co-operatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Year will highlight the strengths of the co-operative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socio-economic development.