Sustainability in the travel industry

ABTA’s mission is to build confidence in travel – confidence for customers to book; confidence for companies to trade and invest; confidence that the industry is building a sustainable future.

Tourism can be a powerful force for good, offering a vital source of income and employment for communities in destinations. But any impacts on destinations and their natural environments, economies and communities need to be managed. 

We are committed to building a more sustainable travel industry, working in partnership with our Members, their suppliers, travellers, destinations and the UK government. 

Any type of tourism can be made more sustainable. It needn’t be complicated – it is about creating Better Places to live and visit. 

We work with:

Our Members

Our five-step ‘Better Places’programme is designed to help Members make their business operations more sustainable. This involves understanding how to take a sustainability approach for their business; making a plan to address the environmental, economic, cultural and social impacts of their activities; involving their suppliers in the process; talking to their customers about what they’re doing and why; and measuring their progress along the way.

We also provide practical guidance and tools on carbon reporting, plastics, animal welfare, child safeguarding, modern slavery and human trafficking, employment conditions, accessible tourism and responsible volunteering.

In addition, Travelife for Accommodation, run by ABTA, is an international sustainability certification programme that helps its Members, from small accommodation to large hotel groups, to improve their social, environmental and economic impacts. Today Travelife supports over 1,500 Member hotels in over 50 countries with improving their sustainability performance and highlighting their achievements to both travellers and travel companies.  

Destinations

Protected natural environments and local culture, authentic experiences, local food, happy staff and feeling welcomed by the community all enhance and enrich an experience.

We have developed strong relationships with destination representatives and governments over many years, and are often their first port of call on issues relating to UK outbound tourism. This means we are able to raise any issues of concern to our Members with them and help identify collaborative solutions. We use our expertise to promote and support sustainable destination management and strategic tourism planning and share examples of best practice from around the world. 

Customers

ABTA measures consumer attitudes towards sustainability as part of its annual consumer trends survey. Our latest Holiday Habits report shows that half (50%) of people say that the green credentials of a travel company are important or essential when choosing a holiday, its highest level ever. And more than six in ten people (62%) also want travel companies to ensure their holidays help the local people and economy.

Following years of rising concern over specific issues such as animal welfare and plastic, climate change has progressed further into consumers’ consciousness. In the survey, 54% stated their concern about the impact of climate change with those aged 24-34 most likely to be concerned. Our annual Make Holidays Greener campaign, run in partnership with Travelife, encourages holidaymakers and the industry to take action to help create better places to live in, and better places to visit. You can read more about this here.


Accessing our sustainability tools and resources

If you’re an ABTA Member, you can sign in to the Member Zone to access the Better Places programme and a wide range of practical resources and tools to help your business develop a sustainable approach and address the issues relevant to it.

If you’re not yet a Member and would like to find out more, please click here.