The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) not-for-profit organisation, The TreadRight Foundation last night celebrated a decade of ‘making travel matter’ with an educational beach clean-up and inspirational event at the Taronga Institute of Science & Learning in Sydney.

The combined event saw over 150 travel industry leaders, partners, media and influencers join Travel Corporation brand leaders and staff including Brett Tollman (Chief Executive TTC), Dave Hoskins (Director, TreadRight Foundation) and John Veitch (CEO TTC Australia) reflect on driving 10 years of remarkable sustainable initiatives and working to help support over 50 tourism projects worldwide.

On what was a steaming hot Sydney afternoon, the event began with a beach clean-up at Clifton Gardens in Sydney Harbour, led by TreadRight Foundation and Contiki sponsored Surf Rider Foundation.

Susie Click, Surfrider Foundation

Former Qantas Flight attendant now turned passionate volunteer marine activist, Susie Crick shared invaluable facts and tips with us on the danger of microplastics (think balloons, bean bag polystyrene balls, face scrubs, cigarette butts, bottle tops etc.) in our oceans and how all of us can make a difference by becoming plastic aware, making better-informed choices and taking little actions that lead to bigger ones.

Personally, I couldn’t believe just how much micro-plastic there was on what at first glance looked like a clean beach. The most powerful message I took away was that one piece of discarded single-use plastic will remain in the environment for at least 400 years.

Is that the kind of legacy we all want to leave behind as a society? I don’t think so.

Click here to skill up on all things plastic and start influencing those around you right now…

Matt Leedham, Karryon

“I couldn’t believe just how much micro-plastic there was” Matt Leedham, Founder KARRYON

The event then moved on to the newly-opened Taronga Institute of Science & Learning where guests were greeted by indigenous performers Gumaroy and Murray from Tribal Warrior who shared their story and revved up the crowd with the enchanted sounds of the didgeridoo.

Neil Rodgers, Managing Director of Adventure World Travel, who is also celebrating a milestone 40-years of tailor-made luxury holidays, hosted a panel of dynamic storytellers – including Brinkley Davies, marine biologist and eco-warrior for Contiki, and Sarah Jane Adams who share a passion for sustainable travel with Adventure World Travel.

The central goal of their trip was to learn more about Wildlife SOS’s work to save elephants from negligent and abusive situations and to bring attention to the dangers of animal tourism.

Neil Rodgers, MD Adventure World

Neil Rodgers, MD Adventure World, Brett Tollman, CEO Travel Corporation

Belinda Fairbrother, Manager of Community Conservation at Taronga Conservation Society Australia was also on stage to discuss the positive impact made by transforming its two Zoo’s into conservation hubs, telling the story of healthy ecosystems, habitats, wildlife and communities across the globe.

After screening one of The TreadRight Foundations latest projects, the Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative in Jordan, a clearly emotional Brett Tollman began his presentation by saying “We’re 10 years in, but really, we’re only just beginning.”

“We are not simply united as a family of brands, we are also united by our shared drive to help make the world a better place. It’s a philosophy that we’ve worked hard to ensure is woven throughout all that we do,” Brett continued.

“From supporting and empowering the local communities we visit, to raising awareness around some of the world’s most at-risk wildlife populations, and contributing to the overall health of the planet, TreadRight has been instrumental in powering TTC’s continuing sustainability journey.”

Brett Tollman (Chief Executive TTC)

Gumaroy Newman

Gumaroy Newman

TTC brands such as Adventure World Travel, Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations, AAT Kings, Busabout and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises – are shaped by TreadRight’s pillars of People, Wildlife and Planet which form an integral part of its policies and decisions on who they work with, and how they operate.

Among some of the recent social responsibility initiatives introduced by TreadRight for TTC’s brands is an e-documents program delivered in partnership with One Tree Planted, a leading not-for-profit focused on global reforestation. Through the program, for every TTC guest that opts to receive e-documents rather than printed materials, One Tree Planted will plant a tree in a destination of their choosing.

To date, the initiative has amazingly seen One Tree Planted reforest over 100 ACRES of trees on behalf of TTC and their guests.

Sarah Jane Adams and Brinkley Davies

Uniworld’s Jess Flint, Alice Ager, Jen Pagett and Lina Trimarchi with Luxury Gold’s Director of Sales David Farrar

TreadRight has also worked with TTC in its commitment to eliminate all avoidable single-use plastics across all operations by 2022. The commitment was introduced with an immediate ban of more than 60 types of single-use plastic items such as straws, coffee stirrers, water bottles, plastic bags, and cutlery from TTC’s 30-plus offices around the world.

“We’ve learned a great deal through our first decade, with one key takeaway from 10 years of sustainability projects being the need to lead by example. TTC’s devotion to our sustainability journey has allowed us to do exactly that. We can’t do it alone, which is why we’re creating awareness,” commented John Veitch, CEO of TTC Australia.

Brett Tollman at the Beach Clean

Katrina Barry (MD Contiki) and Jimmy Niggles

While the event was perhaps an eye-opener for some, the crystal-clear message on the night was that these critical issues need all of our help and awareness in the travel industry to work together and continue the upward momentum.

As ambassadors for the people and places we send our guests, we are the ones who can truly educate and influence travellers to make better-informed ethical choices and take action that becomes a sustainable win-win for everyone, rather than just a few.

Congratulations to everyone at TTC and The TreadRight Foundation for your continued incredible commitment to positive change and here’s to the next 10 years of making travel matter.

What do you think about The TreadRight Foundation’s 10 years of ‘making travel matter?’ Share your thoughts below.