Set up in 2007 by leaders in the travel and tourism industry including TUI Travel, Thomas Cook, Kuoni, Virgin Holidays and others, Travelife is an international sustainability certification scheme for hotels and accommodations. The Travelife Collection website was created to help holiday-makers find truly sustainable properties before booking their holiday, and the properties featured on the Travelife Collection have shown that they meet strict sustainability criteria and have achieved at least one award.
To gain Travelife Gold certification, hotels must meet 150 sustainability criteria. This includes environmental issues, such as minimising their waste and use of energy, water and chemicals, as well as taking positive action on social issues, such as employee welfare, working with the local community, child protection and human rights. They must also show how they are helping to support local businesses and protect local traditions and wildlife.
Achieving a Travelife award depends on an independent, third party auditor who will assess the property against the substantial and comprehensive requirements of the Travelife sustainability criteria. In short, a Bronze Award hotel will show an active environmental policy, as well as treating their staff fairly and with respect; a Silver Award hotel buys local produce for their restaurants and give their staff responsibility for green issues; a Gold Award hotel will do all of the above, as well as be an industry leader, improve the living standards of the local community, along with publishing regular reports on their sustainable actions.
Through the Jetwing Eternal Earth Programme, known as JEEP (www.jetwingeternalearthprogramme.com), Jetwing looks at four main areas of sustainable practice - Community Outreach (the Lighthouse Community Pool, the PATA Grand Award winning Jetwing Youth Development Project and the Tuk Tuk! Project), Sustainability (energy and water conservation and optimization, the usage of energy saving appliances and technology such as LED lighting, biomass boilers, etc), Eco Projects (the Whale & Dolphin Center at Jetwing Lighthouse, Primate Research) and Humanitarian Programmes (cataract surgeries for the less fortunate, etc).
"My father was fond of saying that tourism is an industry that cannot exist in isolation - it must help and uplift the communities around, and provide opportunities to prosper and develop" said Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing. "Our commitment to sustainability has always remained steadfast, as our future will depend on it. The efforts of our Engineering, Naturalist and hotel teams and associates have brought us this far, and so it shall continue" he went on to state.