Charitable Travel Fund

Chris Lee - Chair

Chris began his career in travel and tourism in 1995 at Saga Holidays before joining the Tourism Authority of Thailand launching the hugely successful ‘Amazing Thailand’ campaign. He also served as Chairman of the Pacifci Asia Travel Association UK Chapter for four years, and to this day is on the Board and Executive Committee.  In 2004, Chris was a founding member of TravelAid 50, a response to the devastating impact of the Tsunami in South-East Asia.  This response coordinated  via PATA, worked with local community based projects to build a school in Sri Lanka.  As Commercial Director Chris steered award-winning tour operator Travelmood to triple profit growth before a successful sale to TUI where he assumed a role overseeing Austravel, Travelmood, Magic of the Orient and Trips Worldwide. In 2009, Chris moved into representation and is managing director of the Emotive Travel Marketing Group with clients including Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Northern Territory, Visit Kiso and Visit Orlando.

Susan Smith

Having worked in the Travel Industry for almost 40 years, Sue brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her.  Formerly Group Managing Director of a well-known independent travel company, Sue was responsible for a worldwide tour operation and retail travel agency chain.  She has ‘hands on’ experience of working with a number of tourist boards, leading hotel chains and national airlines. With a passion for travel and a desire to see Charitable Travel flourish she wonderfully complements the trustee team with her wealth of experience.

Debbie Haw

Debbie’s love for travel begun with childhood travels to Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and long summers in the Mediterranean.  In 1998 after living in and falling in love with Thailand she returned to the UK and established a representation company working with small Thai independent hotels and chains which she still runs today. She now has the pleasure of passing on her joy of travel to her children.

Sarah Loftus

Sarah is a freelance tourism consultant and project manager specialising in the development of responsible tourism. Over the past 15 years she has worked with a wide range of organisations and destinations in developing tourism. She also draws on over 18 years in the hotel industry, where she spent her formative years gaining operational experience before progressing to international sales.

Steve Thompson

Currently publisher of Selling Travel Magazine, the UK’s number one travel trade monthly. He has always been a keen traveller and has been lucky enough to have visited nearly 170 countries, ranging from Antarctica to Zambia. During his travels, Steve has seen first-hand the poverty and deprivation in tourism communities, such as the favella’s in Rio or the rice farms of Vietnam, and how tourism money really does make a difference. He was also in Bali just after the bombings, where he got to see the impact on local businesses, when tourism just stops.

Over the last ten years, Steve has been a keen fundraiser for a primary school in Gambia to provide pens and paper, enabling students to attend on a regular basis. Also, during his work as a travel magazine publisher, Steve has become the expert in dealing with companies and organisations in less developed parts of the world, and understanding the ways things operate, in order to achieve the required results.

Melissa Tilling

Founder of the unique social enterprise travel agency, Charitable Travel, Melissa has enjoyed a 33-year career as a tour operator starting as a reservations agent for Intasun in the late 80’s culminating as Managing Director of Funway Holidays, a leading specialist travel company. Melissa’s experience spans every aspect of the travel business including product innovation, purchasing, price, partnerships, and senior management. Always in private enterprise the departure into travel with a social purpose was the realisation of an ambition to be philanthropic and support an array of great causes, by reinventing the way that travel is sold with a community rather than private shareholder focus. The Charitable Travel Fund is an extension of this vision to turn travel into a true force for good.

Chris Lee - Chair

Chris began his career in travel and tourism in 1995 at Saga Holidays before joining the Tourism Authority of Thailand and launching the hugely successful ‘Amazing Thailand’ campaign. He also served as Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association UK Chapter for four years, and to this day is on the Board and Executive Committee.  In 2004, Chris was a founding member of TravelAid 50, a response to the devastating impact of the Tsunami in South-East Asia.  This response, coordinated via PATA, worked with local community based projects to build a school in Sri Lanka.  As Commercial Director Chris steered award-winning tour operator Travelmood to triple profit growth before a successful sale to TUI where he assumed a role overseeing Austravel, Travelmood, Magic of the Orient and Trips Worldwide. In 2009, Chris moved into representation and is managing director of the Emotive Travel Marketing Group with clients including Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Northern Territory, Visit Kiso and Visit Orlando.

Susan Smith

Having worked in the travel Industry for almost 40 years, Sue brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her.  Formerly Group Managing Director of a well-known independent travel company, Sue was responsible for a worldwide tour operation and retail travel agency chain.  She has ‘hands on’ experience of working with a number of tourist boards, leading hotel chains and national airlines. With a passion for travel and a desire to see Charitable Travel flourish, she wonderfully complements the trustee team with her wealth of experience. 

Debbie Haw

Debbie’s love for travel begun with childhood travels to Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and long summers in the Mediterranean.  In 1998, after living in and falling in love with Thailand, she returned to the UK and established a representation company working with small Thai independent hotels and chains which she still runs today. She now has the pleasure of passing on her joy of travel to her children.

Sarah Loftus

Sarah is a freelance tourism consultant and project manager specialising in the development of responsible tourism. Over the past 15 years she has worked with a wide range of organisations and destinations in developing tourism. She also draws on over 18 years in the hotel industry, where she spent her formative years gaining operational experience before progressing to international sales.

Steve Thompson

Currently publisher of Selling Travel Magazine, the UK’s number one travel trade monthly. He has always been a keen traveller and has been lucky enough to have visited nearly 170 countries, ranging from Antarctica to Zambia. During his travels, Steve has seen first-hand the poverty and deprivation in tourism communities, such as the favella’s in Rio or the rice farms of Vietnam, and how tourism money really does make a difference. He was also in Bali just after the bombings, where he got to see the impact on local businesses, when tourism just stops.

Over the last ten years, Steve has been a keen fundraiser for a primary school in Gambia to provide pens and paper, enabling students to attend on a regular basis. Also, during his work as a travel magazine publisher, Steve has become the expert in dealing with companies and organisations in less developed parts of the world, and understanding the ways things operate, in order to achieve the required results.

Steve Thompson

Currently publisher of Selling Travel Magazine, the UK’s number one travel trade monthly, Steve has always been a keen traveller and has been lucky enough to have visited nearly 170 countries, ranging from Antarctica to Zambia. He has seen first-hand the poverty and deprivation that exists in tourism communities such as the favella’s in Rio or the rice farms of Vietnam, and how tourism money really can make a difference. He was also in Bali just after the bombings, where he saw the impact on local businesses when tourism just stops.

Over the last ten years, Steve has been a keen fundraiser for a primary school in Gambia to provide pens and paper, enabling students to attend on a regular basis. Also, during his work as a travel magazine publisher, he has become expert in dealing with companies and organisations in less developed parts of the world, and understanding the ways things operate in order to achieve the required results.

Melissa Tilling

Founder of the unique social enterprise travel agency, Charitable Travel, Melissa has enjoyed a 33-year career as a tour operator starting as a reservations agent for Intasun in the late 80’s and culminating as Managing Director of Funway Holidays, a leading specialist travel company. Melissa’s experience spans every aspect of the travel business including product innovation, purchasing, price negotiation, partnerships, and senior management. Always in private enterprise, the departure into travel with a social purpose was the realisation of an ambition to be philanthropic and support an array of great causes, by reinventing the way that travel is sold with a community rather than private shareholder focus. The Charitable Travel Fund is an extension of this vision to turn travel into a true force for good.

Chris Lee - Chair

Chris began his career in travel and tourism in 1995 at Saga Holidays before joining the Tourism Authority of Thailand and launching the hugely successful ‘Amazing Thailand’ campaign. He also served as Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association UK Chapter for four years, and to this day is on the Board and Executive Committee.  In 2004, Chris was a founding member of TravelAid 50, a response to the devastating impact of the Tsunami in South-East Asia.  This response, coordinated via PATA, worked with local community based projects to build a school in Sri Lanka.  As Commercial Director Chris steered award-winning tour operator Travelmood to triple profit growth before a successful sale to TUI where he assumed a role overseeing Austravel, Travelmood, Magic of the Orient and Trips Worldwide. In 2009, Chris moved into representation and is managing director of the Emotive Travel Marketing Group with clients including Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Northern Territory, Visit Kiso and Visit Orlando.

Susan Smith

Having worked in the travel Industry for almost 40 years, Sue brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her.  Formerly Group Managing Director of a well-known independent travel company, Sue was responsible for a worldwide tour operation and retail travel agency chain.  She has ‘hands on’ experience of working with a number of tourist boards, leading hotel chains and national airlines. With a passion for travel and a desire to see Charitable Travel flourish, she wonderfully complements the trustee team with her wealth of experience. 

Debbie Haw

Debbie’s love for travel begun with childhood travels to Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and long summers in the Mediterranean.  In 1998, after living in and falling in love with Thailand she returned to the UK and established a representation company working with small Thai independent hotels and chains which she still runs today. She now has the pleasure of passing on her joy of travel to her children.

Sarah Loftus

Sarah is a freelance tourism consultant and project manager specialising in the development of responsible tourism. Over the past 15 years she has worked with a wide range of organisations and destinations in developing tourism. She also draws on over 18 years in the hotel industry, where she spent her formative years gaining operational experience before progressing to international sales.

Steve Thompson

Currently publisher of Selling Travel Magazine, the UK’s number one travel trade monthly. He has always been a keen traveller and has been lucky enough to have visited nearly 170 countries, ranging from Antarctica to Zambia. During his travels, Steve has seen first-hand the poverty and deprivation in tourism communities, such as the favella’s in Rio or the rice farms of Vietnam, and how tourism money really does make a difference. He was also in Bali just after the bombings, where he got to see the impact on local businesses, when tourism just stops.

Over the last ten years, Steve has been a keen fundraiser for a primary school in Gambia to provide pens and paper, enabling students to attend on a regular basis. Also, during his work as a travel magazine publisher, Steve has become the expert in dealing with companies and organisations in less developed parts of the world, and understanding the ways things operate, in order to achieve the required results.

Currently publisher of Selling Travel Magazine, the UK’s number one travel trade monthly, Steve has always been a keen traveller and has been lucky enough to have visited nearly 170 countries, ranging from Antarctica to Zambia. He has seen first-hand the poverty and deprivation that exists in tourism communities such as the favella’s in Rio or the rice farms of Vietnam, and how tourism money really can make a difference. He was also in Bali just after the bombings, where he saw the impact on local businesses when tourism just stops.

Over the last ten years, Steve has been a keen fundraiser for a primary school in Gambia to provide pens and paper, enabling students to attend on a regular basis. Also, during his work as a travel magazine publisher, he has become expert in dealing with companies and organisations in less developed parts of the world, and understanding the ways things operate in order to achieve the required results.

Melissa Tilling

Founder of the unique social enterprise travel agency, Charitable Travel, Melissa has enjoyed a 33-year career as a tour operator starting as a reservations agent for Intasun in the late 80’s and culminating as Managing Director of Funway Holidays, a leading specialist travel company. Melissa’s experience spans every aspect of the travel business including product innovation, purchasing, price negotiations, partnerships, and senior management. Always in private enterprise, the departure into travel with a social purpose was the realisation of an ambition to be philanthropic and support an array of great causes, by reinventing the way that travel is sold with a community rather than private shareholder focus. The Charitable Travel Fund is an extension of this vision to turn travel into a true force for good.