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Responsible Travel drops internal flights of an hour or less

Tour operator Responsible Travel is to stop using internal jet flights of less than an hour across its 6,000 trips.

The firm, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, plans to implement the change by the New Year.

Responsible Travel has advised customers to ‘fly less and stay longer’ in destinations for more than a decade.

Its decision to cut short haul internal flights is part of its broader ongoing measures to cut emissions and benefit nature.

In 2020 the company committed to a 55% reduction in CO2 per traveller by 2030, without the use of carbon offsets, which it scrapped in 2009.

It also became the first travel company to sign up to the Get Nature Positive initiative, committing to a biodiversity net gain this decade.

Carbon reduction efforts at the company include increasing its flight-free, rail and domestic holidays range, using more electric vehicles, renewably-powered accommodations and vegan offerings.

The operator advocates for a Green Flying Duty – a reformed Air Passenger Duty tax, with revenue ring-fenced for improved, affordable rail services and sustainable aviation technologies.

Justin Francis, co-founder and chief executive of Responsible Travel, said: “The inescapable truth is that we have to fly less. As individuals, of course we can make that choice – but business needs to shoulder its share of responsibility.

“We have to shelve the myth that we can offset our way out of the climate crisis – that’s not a solution to reducing emissions, it’s false advertising designed to perpetuate flying as usual.

“Reducing carbon and restoring biodiversity are crucial, so that’s what we’re working hard to achieve. We’re not perfect and we’ve a long way to go, but cutting these flights is one of several steps we’re taking to get where we want to be.

“The way we travel needs to change. Alongside our own work, we continue to encourage customers to take fewer flights and, when they do fly, to make it count by staying in destination longer and booking a responsible holiday that directly benefits local communities and nature.

“We’ll continue to offer responsible trips with flights, because I believe travel has immense value for individuals, communities and nature.

“I want to encourage exploration of our planet in a way that not only minimises harm, but maximises good. When tourism works for local communities and benefits nature, travellers get a far richer experience too. And, of course, while our trips are global, so are our travellers: long haul to one person is local to another.”

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