The TUI sustainability diploma
The TUI sustainability diploma is a valuable and accurate method to ascertain a company’s commitment to sustainability in daily operations.
The role of sustainability tested
The GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism. The sustainability diploma issued by GSTC has been adopted by TUI as a means to ensure that their guests visit destinations where suppliers act responsibly. And we, Meet the Sea, as hosts to more than 2,000 TUI guests in 2022 in Our Family Boat trip, faced the test. Are our daily operations up to the standards set by TUI and GSTC?
General Information about Meet the Sea
The self-assessment begins with questions about our commitment to promoting local employment. After, ways in which we support the local economy and the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment. Finally, an analysis of best practices for the reduction of water and energy consumption and reduction of emissions. The correct disposal of solid waste and the avoidance of the introduction of invasive species closes the preliminary survey.
We found this initial section to be solid and in keeping with the philosophy that any modern company should seek to uphold. Crucially, Meet the sea is fortunate that the core of our philosophy and sustainability credo is led by three women out of four key management positions.
Nature of our Boat trip activity and sites
Minimisation of impact on the natural sites we visit, group size and frequency of visits is next on the survey. This was a key aspect, as we visit daily the stunning Natural Reserve of the island of Conejera, home to beautiful waters and species. We take our clients in snorkelling tours designed by a marine biologist always in small groups. As a result, the client enjoys a bespoke experience and the environment suffers minimal impact.
The bay of San Antonio offers a wealth of cultural heritage that we highlight through local landmarks such as Torre d’en Rovira. Built in the XVIII century to alert locals to the presence of incoming pirates, Rovira captures the imagination of children onboard. And their questions and curiosity never ceases to surprise us!
Means of Transportation and Food & Beverage
A classic wooden boat, in service since 1970, carries families during our trip. It has the benefit of maximising space, with ninety-four passengers in 18 meters of length. Its most salient feature is the fact that it provides comfort and minimises fuel consumption. Still, we would love to see an improvement of alternative energies in ships as we see on road vehicles. This would be paramount in helping the sea become the protected space from fossil fuel for which we strive.
Beverages are scored on the basis of source, waste management and water consumption. Similarly, food sourcing, the exclusion of endangered species in our menus and reusable containers are scored.
Guiding and Accessibility
In order to guarantee the quality of the experience delivered to clients, guides need to prove site-specific knowledge, be trained and knowledgeable. In that respect, certifications and qualifications play a key role. Additionally, they must ensure appropriate intercultural exchange with locals and be aware of special features in natural sites.
Accessibility continues to pose a challenge for us. While we have been able to make our snorkelling activity available to non-swimmers and to infants and elder people, we are not fully satisfied. Wheelchair access is as of yet unresolved and it is always painful and difficult to exclude anybody. While access to the boat will soon be possible, the experience at sea poses a much bigger problem.
TUI is committed to the welfare of all kinds of animals that are somehow involved in the activities. To that effect, the Family boat trip had to take a hard look at our interaction with species. Most of the species passengers learn about during our presentation are seen during the snorkelling tour. The tour leader points at species as they swim by and selects skeletons of sea urchins and shells to illustrate the tour. Finally, we have decided to show small pieces of Posidonia or Neptune grass given its crucial importance to the ecosystem. In all, we feel that it is possible to provide a unique experience for children in bringing them closer to live species without threatening their integrity.
Conclusion about the TUI diploma
The TUI sustainability diploma is awarded only after a thorough analysis of a company’s practices. It is hard to obtain a perfect score and it certainly provides a code of ethics to which aspire. For Meet the Sea, it has pointed out a number of areas where improvement can be made. And towards that goal we will endeavour as the season begins.