CO-OPERATIVE Travel agencies in Wiltshire are encouraging customers to give back to the communities they visit, in a charity push this Fairtrade Fortnight running from February 24 to 8 March 8.

Their campaign is to encourage customers to donate their unused holiday currency to its charity partner, The Travel Foundation, during Fairtrade Fortnight.

The Travel Foundation is a charity that works in partnership with leading tourism organisations to help protect the environment of some of the world’s most popular holiday destinations and make sure that tourism benefits local people, ensuring they thrive and survive, now and in the future.

They are urging Wiltshire holidaymakers to do their bit by pop into their local Co-operative Travel shop and donating their spare foreign currency using the dedicated collection boxes.

Natalie Turner, head of branches for Co-operative Travel said: “With holidaymakers bringing home an average of £78 of unused currency per holiday* there’s a big opportunity for us all to make a difference. Customers can exchange their foreign notes in our stores for a market leading exchange rate but those pesky coins inevitably go to waste. We’re using Fairtrade Fortnight as an opportunity to boost awareness of our collection box initiative and the difference those donations can make to communities around the world.

“Following the January peak holiday booking period, when millions of Brits will have planned their annual getaways, we want to give our customers the opportunity to give back to the holiday destinations they love to visit. We’re proud to be supporting the Travel Foundation to help it continue its fantastic work in promoting sustainable tourism, which is something that’s really important to us,” continued Turner.

Since Co-operative Travel installed the collection boxes in its 57 branches across the UK in summer 2019, the business has raised £3,043 for The Travel Foundation.

Graeme Jackson from the Travel Foundation said: “It’s been estimated that British holidaymakers have around £663 million in leftover foreign currency after holidays abroad, and there are also around 450 million old British Pounds still in circulation. That’s a lot of unwanted cash which could help us to transform tourism, so that it protects fragile environments and creates sustainable livelihood opportunities for people around the world.”

Co-operative Travel is part of Midcounties Co-operative. Its 57 branches span the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, East Midlands, Derby and surrounding areas.