Making the big ones better - how TUI is making progress

At Fronteer, we aim to challenge our clients to do better. One of our clients is doing just that, and we got the privilege to talk to the managing director Arjan Kers about the progress TUI is making on their road towards positive impact. We talked about their sustainability strategy, long term ambitions and biggest challenges.





What positive impact are you making now, and what are you doing right now with regard to your sustainability strategy?

Holidays are important for physical and mental well-being and travel has social value. We want future generations to be able to enjoy that too. We are keen to take the lead in enhancing the positive effects of tourism and minimizing the negative impact. Traveling more consciously is important, so we need to enable consumers to do so. By offering more sustainable options within the full travel journey, such as making sure that holidays also contribute to the local economy and population and that the travelers stay in hotels that care about sustainability (recognized by an eco-label). These elements all come together in our Fair Travel product which we introduced last year. With Fair Travel we make it attractive and easier to book a more sustainable holiday. And with success. Since the launch in March 2021 till this October 2022, more than 500.000 travelers booked a Fair Travel holiday in The Netherlands and Belgium.


What are your long term ambitions and how do you translate this within the organization?


The tourism industry is one of the world's leading industries, with TUI Group as one of the world’s leading tourism groups. Within the group there is a strong focus on sustainability based on the values People, Planet, Profit. Impactful initiatives are in the pipeline to underline and implement our sustainability strategy. An important part of TUI Group's sustainability agenda is to reduce emissions.


Based on science based targets we will work on reducing rather than compensating. In that perspective we believe in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). But the availability of SAF is still very limited, we are undertaking pilots under the EU umbrella to look into SAF as an alternative. And with the "The Rhodes Co-Lab" project which was launched earlier this year, TUI Group, TUI Care Foundation and the island of Rhodes have joined forces to develop Rhodes into an international beacon for the sustainable development of holiday destinations. Besides that at TUI Group level we also we also invest in a young fleet with more sustainable aircraft. On a local level the Netherlands and the Nordic countries are the regions where sustainability awareness is currently furthest developed. In the Netherlands, we have taken first steps by introducing Fair Travel holiday packages, stopping flight packages to Paris and promoting train journeys such as TUI Ski Express and city trips.


What are your biggest challenges up until now and do you have any tips for likeminded organisations?

Challenges lie mainly in external circumstances. Such as the offer of train travel. We would like to offer more train journeys within a 700km radius of the Netherlands, such as Paris since 2019 - you can no longer book a flight package with us, only train and private transport. Unfortunately, this cannot yet be extended to many other cities due to the lack of good and affordable train connections. To step change this, we joined forces with the GreenCityTrip entrepeneurs in May 2022 and have introduced six new city trips in Europe and from 23 December 2022 Ski holidays to Austria.


Our tip for likeminded organizations? To start with; only a financially sound company can contribute to making its operation more sustainable. Besides that it’s important that you act upon your words. Don’t profess sustainability just with words, show that you mean business. And small progress is also progress, you can’t change the world or business overnight, but you can start and little steps count as well.