It’s not every day that a breakfast jam earns such plaudits. But this is not any ordinary jam – this is ‘jungle jam’!
“A nice unique touch – adds character to our holiday! Thank you!” - Sensatori customer
Jungle jams are made by a cooperative of Mayan women in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and are now part of the breakfast buffet at Thomson Holidays’ Sensatori Resort along with four other hotels in the region. This could not have happened without support from TUI UK & Ireland. First, we helped fund the project via the Travel Foundation, a sustainable tourism charity. Then four colleagues visited and spent time with the women, advising them on customer communications, and how to launch the product and establish links with our resort hotels.
Our customers appreciate the opportunity to eat locally-made papaya and cactus-fruit jams because they feel they are sampling the real taste of Mexico. And the local women are empowered and able to earn a living, without having to leave their villages in the jungle to seek work in the coastal resorts.
Jenni Moss from Thomson Airways said:
“It was a great opportunity to travel to Mexico and find out more about the area around our destination. Working out how we could apply our skills to the women’s situation was even more interesting. I think I learnt a lot from it which I can now bring back to my day job.”
For Yuri Flores, who manages the project on the ground, she can see how this project benefits TUI UK & Ireland:
“Helping the local communities around our destinations to thrive economically makes sense: by investing in their future, we are also investing in greater future success for the travel industry.”
Jungle Jams president, Homobona Borges Dzul, says it was only when the Travel Foundation and TUI UK & Ireland got involved that the project became a reality.
‘’She’s very grateful for the support that has been coming from the UK,’’ Homobona’s translator says. "Prior to this, it was very stuck.’’
The Jungle Jams project was part of Project Discovery, in which some 10 volunteers from TUI UK & Ireland are selected each year from different areas of the business to spend two weeks using their skills to work on projects which are linked to the company’s sustainability strategy. Another of these projects saw colleagues travel to Sri Lanka, where they helped establish a tree nursery in the rainforest (an area affected by the tsunami), as well as five community-owned tree nurseries which generate income and employment for the local community.
It doesn’t have to be just the ‘chosen few’ who benefit. For example, the Specialist & Activity Sector Charity Day scheme gives more than 6,395 colleagues the opportunity to have a paid day to volunteer each financial year. And our Global Responsible Leadership programme aims to help delegates from across our businesses gain further insight into their leadership styles and build contacts from across the Group while also making a contribution to the local community.
Our ambition is always to find ways to develop our people, engage them in sustainability and replicate learnings elsewhere in our operations, in order to have a positive and lasting impact on communities around our destinations. Jam today and tomorrow!