Aito 19: Operators ‘lose sales’ as teenagers ‘pressure parents’ not to fly

Operators have reported losing sales after teenagers pressured parents not to fly for their holidays.

Aito members said customers were becoming increasingly aware of their environmental footprint when it came to travelling.

It comes amid growing calls for the industry to promote the benefits of travel and to talk with the government about climate change to avoid an introduction of flight quotas.

Aito chairman Derek Moore said the association was so concerned about the issue that it was creating a climate change thinktank on behalf of its 120 operator and 49 agent members.

Speaking at Aito’s overseas conference in Wroclaw, Poland, last week, he said the thinktank would formulate the “appropriate response” to customers to avoid the industry being seen as “villains of the piece” in the climate change debate.

It will engage with politicians and airlines to find out what action is being taken to reduce the impact of travel on the environment.

Speaking at the conference, Alice Bayly, head of sustainable travel and family product at Experience Travel Group, said: “I’ve heard two parents say they will not travel next year because their teenagers won’t let them. Younger people are increasingly engaged and very powerful.”

Kevin O’Regan, managing director of Ramblers Holidays, said he was increasingly aware of the issue. He said: “Children are pressing parents to take only one flight next year.”

Operators said the industry needs to sell the positives of travel.

Sarah Bradley, director at Journey Latin America, said: “Travel has massive economic benefits to communities. We should not be too frightened about talking about that.”

Jonathan Bryan, founder of Discover Adventure, added: “Young people will demand parents don’t travel overseas; perhaps they will go closer to home. We have to think carefully about making our products more sustainable.”

Tucan Travel is overhauling its business to become more sustainable. It has already added responsible tourism content to its website and stopped tour visits to schools.

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