Travel trade gets chance to do good

The travel and tourism industry got the chance to help provide healthcare for some of the world’s most disadvantaged people with the launch of the Massivegood initiative.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Bill Clinton joined  international recording artists to launch the innovative fundraising movement that will enable travellers to make a micro-contribution towards major global health causes every time they buy a plane ticket, reserve a hotel room or rent a car.

So far available in the US, and in the process of an international roll-out, the system enables travellers to click on Massivegood on commercial travel websites, such as Travelocity and Accor Hotels, and through travel agents, and contribute $2 to fighting HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis.

The technology was developed in conjunction with travel trade partners and made possible by GDS organisations including Amadeus, Travelport and Sabre and it will soon be available to subscribing travel agents and travel websites worldwide.

Speaking during the PhoCusWright event at ITB Berlin, Jean-Louise Richard of the Millennium Foundation, which has set up Massivegood, explained that the foundation is a non-profit organisation established in November 2008 under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) to look at ways of funding the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Funds raised by Massivegood will be delivered by Unitaid which was established in 2006 as a global health partnership with the mission of contributing to increasing access to treatment for HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, primarily for people in low income countries, by lowering the price and accelerating the availability of high-quality drugs and diagnostics.

According to the World Health Organisation, the HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis pandemics claim 3.7 million lives per year. Unitaid, which is now supported by 28 countries, dedicates at least 85 per cent of its funds to providing health commodities to low-income countries with $870 million having been committed so far.

Since its inception, Unitaid has also been successful in reducing the cost of HIV/Aids antiretroviral drugs by more than 50 per cent.