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Consumer opinion is split on green issues, says study

Operators are forging ahead with sustainable initiatives – despite research showing that green credentials are considered by fewer than half of consumers when booking.

Delegates at the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (Atas) conference on Wednesday (October 20) heard the results of a study by MailMetroMedia among 700 readers of the media group’s newspapers, such as The Daily Mail and The Telegraph.

The poll found that 47% agreed “it is important to know that by travelling to a destination is benefitting the local communities/places that I am visiting” –  but another 47% agreed with the statement that “any concerns I may have about the environmental impact of holidays would not stop me taking a holiday I really wanted to go on”.

Robertina Tompa (pictured), MailMetroMedia travel account manager, said: “Sustainability is an important talking point but not the first point when you’re generating bookings – but it will convert with repeat customers.”

Zina Bencheikh, EMEA managing director of Intrepid Travel, told the conference that the operator had a high repeat booking rate because customers could see the benefits of the operator’s community-based tourism during their touring holidays.

On Wednesday, Atas member Intrepid Travel unveiled a brand refresh and a new vision focused on empowering communities, protecting the planet and creating a more equitable experience for travellers.

Bencheikh said: “We have got to do something about it; we are taking the risk of not having a healthy planet. We are seeing the effects of climate change with bush fires and flash floods.

“It is about future proofing our industry. It is not too late.”

Liam Race, chief executive of the Leger Shearings Group, said his company is looking at buying battery-powered coaches.

“A lot of our fleet will be powered by electricity over the next five years,” he said.

“It is the right thing to do for the planet.”

Phil Hullah, Riviera Travel chief executive, said responsible tourism had always been important to his firm, adding: “We are working now with suppliers [on sustainability]; it is urgent – now is the time to invest.”

• The conference heard from charity Give A Vaccine which is urging people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to donate the cost of a vaccine for those in developing countries where the vaccination programme is lagging behind.

The charity has donated £25,000 to Medecins Sans Frontieres which is working to vaccinate vulnerable people in Lebanon.

For details of how to donate, visit giveavaccine.com.

Picture of Sam Conway (left) and Robertina Tompa, MailMetroMedia account managers, by Steve Dunlop Photographer.

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