Tributes paid to Charitable Travel founder Melissa Tilling

Tributes have been paid to Charitable Travel and Sustainable Journeys founder and chief executive Melissa Tilling, who died suddenly at the weekend.

An industry veteran of more than 30 years, Tilling was well known for her roles at private enterprises, social entities and charities.

In 2020, she founded Charitable Travel before launching Sustainable Journeys, with a focus on making environmentally and ethically responsible travel more accessible.

Advising of her death, her family said: “Melissa was an extremely loved daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She will be sorely missed by all of us, and I am sure within the travel industry to which she devoted her life.”

Ally Ware, head of marketing at Charitable Travel, added: “Melissa was a well-known, highly respected and much-loved member of the industry and will be a huge loss to many, both professionally and personally.

“Her passion for creating a better, more sustainable travel industry was contagious and unwavering, and I sincerely hope that her legacy will serve to inspire others to continue delivering travel as a force for good.”

Ali Nicholls, Travel Counsellor and a former colleague at Charitable Travel, said: “I was so very fortunate to have known Melissa since 2002 when I worked at CaribWorld, and she has been a trusted friend and mentor ever since.”

She added: “Her wit and humour got us through some tough times during the pandemic, whilst trying to grow Charitable Travel. Her drive to do good in the world was truly to be admired and I learnt so much from her about the world of social enterprise and the charity sector and latterly sustainability as she launched Sustainable Journeys.

“She was a visionary and a workaholic and known to so many people around the world, once met never forgotten. We have lost one in a million, a truly unique soul.”

Alison Cryer, founder of Representation Plus, said: “What shocking and sad news. Melissa was truly unique and a game-changer in the industry and will be missed but not forgotten by us all. If we can embrace and continue what she has started the industry and their clients can only benefit.”

Prior to founding Charitable Travel, Tilling held a range of tour operating roles, progressing from being a reservations agent for Intasun in the late 1980s to become managing director of Funway Holidays.

Charitable Travel customers with upcoming bookings will be handled as normal through the TTNG Worldchoice Group.

Her future business affairs will be managed by her family.

More: Social enterprise agency launches operator arm

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