We've learnt the hard way that travelling, and holidays are no longer perceived as a given. Some governments have even framed them as some of the main causes of the spread of COVID-19. Certainly, within the Netherlands, we have witnessed heated debates on the value and necessity of travelling. Not always based on facts, and despite the sector's compliance with all governmental policies and restrictions during the pandemic. We should be careful to not move from shame of flying to shame about going on a holiday!
At the same time, we all realise that the world is facing a huge challenge when it comes to climate change. Recent forest fires and heat waves are just some examples of how climate change affects the world of tourism as well. We can no longer look the other way. As joint partners of holidays, we have to consider our role in this challenge. While we respect all of the great initiatives that have already been implemented in the last few years; we simply have to do more.
As Sunweb Group, we want to be the leading digital holiday expert, shaping the future of holiday experience and creating a sustainable ecosystem for future holidays. With this in mind, we will take our responsibility in investing in the reduction of holidays' footprints, and in changing customer behaviour by offering sustainable alternatives. Of course, we cannot do this alone. We will involve you, our trusted partners, and jointly decide on the next steps.
Recently, I spoke out on the need for fewer leisure flights. From my tenure as CEO of Transavia, I know that, in spite of huge and necessary efforts taken by our airline partners, sustainable flying is still a pipe dream. Therefore, less flying is essential for making holidaying more sustainable. Do I target the yearly holiday to the Mediterranean which many of our customers long for so much? No, absolutely not! I don't believe that these are the problem.
The issue lies with city trips, second or third holidays, or weekends to a second house – these pose a much bigger problem. These, we have to reconsider. For these, we need to create alternatives.
At Sunweb Group, we want to take the lead in creating plastic-free holidays, as well as increasing the percentage of non-holiday-related flights. That is our commitment to the world, to our partners, to our customers, and to our employees. We believe, that by offering quality affordable alternatives in for both destination and means of travel, we can make our customers reconsider their choice for these second or third holidays. And we believe we can bring the sector back to the position it had before: a crucial, beloved, needed, enjoyable and responsible industry that continues uniting Europe's northern and southern countries.
With our ambition, growth and focus on true partnership, you can continue counting on us. We invite you to join us in shaping the future of holiday experiences and building this sustainable holiday ecosystem. So, my question to you is: how can we help? And feel free to ask this question to us as well, as we are at the beginning of this journey and all expertise is welcome!
Let's not wait, let's lead the way and embrace the change.