Travel company, Thomas Cook, has launched a new charity, aimed at improving the safety of holidaymakers travelling abroad, by funding research and raising awareness of travel risks, with a particular focus on the dangers of carbon monoxide.
The Safer Tourism Foundation was launched at a parliamentary event, hosted by Wakefield MP, Mary Creagh, as part of the start of Carbon Monoxide awareness week.
The charity was born out of the deaths of two young children, Christi and Bobby Shepherd, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning whilst on holiday with Thomas Cook nine years ago.
Working with Sharon Wood, the mother of Christi and Bobby, the Foundation will start by funding the first ever Europe-wide research and public health awareness campaign into carbon monoxide. The Foundation has initial funding of £1 million and will look to partner with academic institutions and the wider industry including ABTA, the Travel Association.
Initial research conducted for the Foundation by YouGov, surveying more than 12,000 Europeans, reveals that carbon monoxide poisoning has touched the lives of more than one in ten Europeans.
Yet despite the risks, public awareness and knowledge remains low, with over a third of people surveyed incorrectly stating that carbon monoxide could be detected by our human senses.
More than half of respondents (56%) agreed there should be more information available about the risks of The Foundation’s first objective will be to commission academic research to create a Europe-wide picture of the scale of the problem. This will provide an important foundation for the campaign for legislative change.