21 Nov

ABTA reveals new research on responsible travel

Increasing numbers of consumers now expect their travel company to take a lead on responsibility

“And one in five are prepared to pay extra for more sustainable holidays”

Research released today by ABTA – The Travel Association, has found that a significant and growing number of consumers, 38%, believe that it is their travel company’s responsibility to be environmentally responsible rather than their own; this is up from 28% in 2012 and 31% in 2010. At the same time, almost half of all consumers, 49%, say that they don’t want to think about being green on holiday but just want to relax, up from 38% in 2012 and 41% in 2010. This is a very clear indication that the public are increasingly looking to the industry to take a lead on the environment rather than having to consider these issues themselves once on holiday.

One in five consumers (21%) say they are prepared to pay more for a holiday with a company that has a better environmental and social record; this has increased from 14% in 2012 and 17% in 2010. Consumers are also increasingly likely to choose one company over another based on a better environmental record, 23% say they would do this, up from 19% in 2011 and 16% in 2012.

There is also growing support for holidays to have an environmental and social rating, similar to star ratings for hotels, with over a third (36%) of consumers in favour of this, up from 25% in 2012 and 29% in 2010.

16-24 year olds are the most vocal in their support for sustainability with a third (30%) saying they would be prepared to pay more for a holiday with a company that has a better environmental and social record.

Nikki White Head of Destinations and Sustainability ABTA said: “Our research has produced some very clear messages for the travel industry. There are a growing number of consumers, particularly the young, who are prepared to pay a premium for a holiday that is more sustainable. One of the reasons for this could be that consumers are realising that a more sustainable holiday tends to be a better holiday as it may, for example, give them opportunities to try local food and engage with local culture. The message is also clear that many consumers see sustainability as the travel industry’s responsibility and they want to go on holiday to relax, not worry or fell guilty about the environment. So, it makes clear economic sense for companies to have a well thought out sustainability plan that sells the positive benefits of sustainability to consumers and taps into this growing market.” 

Members interested in finding out more about this area can download ABTA’s guide “How to Sell Better Places”, which offers tips for retailers and tour operators  on how to identify which of the holidays they sell are more sustainable and how to sell these in an appealing way to customers.

*Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2008 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2013. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2013.