This summer Thomas Cook is launching a new programme of in-resort activities all designed to make a positive contribution to the destination.
Labelled Love Local, the new experiences will give holidaymakers the opportunity to meet local communities, learn about and take part in local traditions and importantly, give something back and help preserve much-loved holiday destinations that are home to thousands of local people.
New research reveals that two in five Brits are more likely to choose activities which benefit the local community in some way than they were ten years ago. Today half of holidaymakers are more likely to take a trip to a market to mingle with locals and support independent businesses than they were a decade ago and a third are more inclined to opt for experiences that feature local traditions.
Some 13 Love Local experiences are currently available to Thomas Cook customers in destinations including mainland Spain, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Mexico and Cuba. More will be added throughout the summer season with the aim of having 70 by summer 2020.
In the picturesque town of Reus in Spain, customers will get on their bikes for the ‘Grape Escape’ to explore old rustic villages, vineyards and olive groves. They’ll hear from the family that produces organic wine at their vineyard before sampling the award winning olive oil that is made on the farm next door.
In Cuba, holidaymakers will get the chance to live like a Cuban for the day in a community untouched by tourism. The Love Local experience includes a visit to a pineapple plantation and the village of Alcala to meet Cuban farmers and learn more about traditional coffee making before trying homegrown fruits and other local cuisines. The day ends with the opportunity to plant a tree in the community’s local forest.
Sandra Killick, Head of Sustainability in Destination, at Thomas Cook UK said: “Times have changed and customers are telling us that they want more from a holiday than just a week chilling by the pool at a hotel. For many, mixing with the local communities and getting to know a place is becoming increasingly important.
“Tourism is vital to so many of the countries where we send holidaymakers and our new Love Local programme will enable our customers to make a meaningful difference to the people, economy and environment of the destinations they have been holidaying at for many years and for many more years to come.”
Love Local experiences start from €12 and can be booked via Thomas Cook in resort reps or via the 24 hour Connected Service online.