Introducing the COVID-19 Hotel Heroes for community support

We are proud of how many Travelife Certified properties maintained their sustainbility commitments despite the overwhelming challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next few months we will be highlighting this work and this month we are showcasing examples of how some hotels supported their local community.

An important part of Travelife Certification is ensuring hotels are taking steps to improve their impact on local communities. This involves identifying and minimising any negative impacts, but also being proactive about supporting the local area.

This was perhaps never more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic when communities all over the world were facing unprecedented economic and social challenges, with people reliant on tourism hit especially hard when travel came to a halt in March 2020.

In May 2020 we surveyed  Travelife hotels to find out how they were responding to the pandemic in terms of their sustainability work. We were encouraged when the survey data showed that 97% of them said that sustainability was still an important part of their business.

Although 94% of them were closed, with many of them not reopening until 2021 or 2022, 82% took action to specifically support their community during the pandemic. Of those, 80% supported local healthcare services by donating supplies, rooms or loaning amenities, while 57% donated food, money, or other supplies to local people in need.

Here are just some of the stories of our COVID-19 Hotel Heroes for community support.

Getting tourism back on track

Alcudia Garden Aparthotel, Spain

Travelife Certified property, Alcudia Garden Aparthotel in Mallorca, took part in a pilot programme to help reopen tourism as soon as possible, thus easing some of the economic pressure on local people that rely on international visitors. Part of the Garden Hotels chain, their CEO played an important role in helping to develop and execute the Mallorca Turisme Segure programme (Mallorca Safe Tourism).

This began with a group of local tourism business, NGOs, health experts and international tour operators working together to establish how Mallorca could reopen safely during the pandemic. 

The project culminated with a test in June 2020 when TUI brought visitors from Germany that you can read more about aquí.  Alcudia Garden Aparthotel was one of the properties that supported the programme. Although travel continued to be disrupted by COVID-19 for the next few years, this was an important first step in giving people in Mallorca some confidence that the economic benefits of tourism would return.

Supporting local people facing hardship

Millions of people all over the world are highly dependent on tourism for income. Many of them work in small businesses that service tourists or that supply goods and services to bigger tourism enterprises such as resorts, airports and tour operators. These people are especially vulnerable when tourism declines because they are unlikely to enjoy the same protection or security that they would if they worked for a larger business with stronger financial reserves, or they are in a country that does not provide a social safety net.

TUI SENSATORI Barut Fethiye, Turkey

During the pandemic we heard many examples of how Travelife Certified properties were supporting local people who were experiencing financial hardship due to the lack of tourism.

One such example comes from TUI BLUE SENSATORI Barut Fethiye in Turkey who donated to a food programme and another fund that provided financial grants to local families experiencing hardship.

Playitas Resort, Canary Islands

Another great example comes from Playitas Resort in Fuerteventura. This property had been working on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions from food for quite some time.  As part of this, they had planted their own vegetable garden that provided a large portion of food supplies for their guests.

The pandemic forced the hotel to close so, rather than wasting the food from the garden, some of their staff volunteered to harvest it then worked with a local programme to ensure it was distributed to local families in need of help due to lost income from the lack of tourism to the Canary Islands. 


Por favor visite el Travelife Showcase page again next month when we will shine a light on our COVID-19 Hotel Heroes for supporting their staff through the pandemic.

Browse the Travelife Showcase

Read our sustainability articles