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Virgin Atlantic wins Tomorrow Innovation Award for sustainable tourism

After officially committing to invest in sustainable tourism with its "Change the Air" programme, Virgin Atlantic has received recognition for its innovative approach to sustainable onboard catering. The carrier won the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award during the prize-giving ceremony celebrated last month in Buenos Aires.

Virgin Atlantic wins Tomorrow Innovation Award for sustainable tourism

Britain’s second largest air carrier, Virgin Atlantic has long been committed to eco-friendly solutions and sustainability. Various years ago, the company began a “Change the Air” programme, which was aimed at reducing costs in flying and causing less impact on the environment.

As part of these initiatives, Virgin Atlantic partnered with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) last month in order to improve the standards of onboard catering.

This partnership and the airline’s efforts towards sustainable tourism were recognised with an important award last month. During the 18th Global Summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Virgin Atlantic was declared the winner of the Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award.

Following a rigorous five-stage judging process, which included onsite evaluations, the carrier received the top spot in its category during the ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which took place between 18th and 19th April.

WTTC is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism and its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards showcase business practices of the highest standards within the industry. Fiona Jeffery, chair, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, stated:

“Virgin Atlantic together with SRA have delivered a real first here, looking at the nature of their onboard food and drink supply to ensure that everything is sustainably sourced right across their supply chain, setting a new benchmark within the aviation industry as well as raising employee and customer awareness of the sustainability issues within our food chain.”

Commenting on working with the SRA, Reuben Arnold, Director of Customer Experience at Virgin Atlantic said:

“Value for money and quality of product are of course hugely important factors, but our passengers now rightly demand that we look beyond that and ensure we are making the most sustainable choices. The SRA ratings will allow us to understand how we and our global suppliers are performing on this front, and how to work closely together to drive improvements.”

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is a UK-based not-for profit membership organisation. The project with Virgin Atlantic was aimed at creating the world’s first framework designed to address the many sustainability challenges for sustainable in-flight catering.

Last year Eurostar became the first transport provider to partner with the SRA and Virgin says that its initiative is “a first for the airline industry”. The association works with over 1,000 UK restaurants, awarding ratings according to their performance against “a wide range of criteria covering 14 areas of sustainability”.

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