The second Make Holidays Greener Week, July 2-9, aims to change holidaymakers’ attitudes to sustainable travel. Chloe Berman reports

Customers are becoming more green while on holiday but still fail to take sustainability into account when booking their trip, according to research by the
Travel Foundation and Abta.

The online research, released during Make Holidays Greener Week, found that 80% of the 1,400 holidaymakers surveyed made an effort to purchase food from local cafes and restaurants when abroad. A similar number explored the local area.

Some 67% of respondents said they liked to try new food on holiday and 58% said they enjoyed visiting local stalls for souvenirs. Just 55% of travellers said they liked to meet locals on holiday.

Consumers from the northwest were most likely to stay in the resort for most of the holiday (26%) and those from the southwest (14.8%) and Wales (7%) were least likely to.

Make Holidays Greener logoMore worryingly, when booking a holiday 75% of people admitted they did not take into consideration whether the accommodation they stayed in had a positive impact on the local environment and community.

Londoners were most likely to take sustainability into account (29%) and people from Northern Ireland least likely at just 4%. The findings highlight the importance of Make Travel Greener Week (July 2-9), which encourages consumers to make small changes while they are on holiday that will help local people and protect the environment.

Shopping for souvenirs in local markets, asking their holiday rep or hotel about exploring the local area with local guides and conserving water are just some of the things that people are being urged to do when they are on holiday this summer.

Nikki White, head of destinations and sustainability at Abta, said: “Make Holidays Greener Week highlights how there are simple things we can all do to make a difference.”

How did the industry get involved?

Thomas Cook’s resort teams hosted activities from treasure hunts to recycling challenges.

In the UK, stores received sustainability training and the call centres in Peterborough and Falkirk both hosted sustainability roadshows.

A spokeswoman said: “All our retail stores have been encouraged to save energy this week and we are monitoring results through our ‘smart meters’.

“Our Bradford and Birkenshaw offices are having a ‘green Friday’ to raise awareness of how we can make our office greener – all staff are wearing holiday-themed fancy dress and committing to three ‘green actions’ highlighting that even the very small things make a difference.”

The Co-operative Travel Group visited schools to educate children about sustainable holidays. It plans to incorporate ideas generated in the school workshops in its second brochure of responsible and sustainable holidays for summer 2012.

Jane Witherington, commercial and market development manager, said: “By educating youngsters we are trying to encourage a generation of travellers to look
after the holiday destinations that we take for granted so our children and their children can enjoy them for years to come.”

Thomson and First Choice shops held fundraising events for the Travel Foundation.

Hayes & Jarvis is offering deals on Travelife-accredited hotels and properties.

Sunvil sent a bag for life and green travel tips to all customers departing on holiday during Make Holidays Greener Week.

Inside Japan updated its blog with a green travel tip every day.

Holiday Extras is aksing agents for their green tips and giving them the chance to win a solar-powered travel charging kit. Entries close July 11.

Tourism Thailand had a stand at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show to promote the destination’s commitment to responsible tourism.