From recycling bottles to switching off the lights, record numbers of families are doing their bit to help the environment at home – but new research from ABTA and the Travel Foundation highlights that almost half of Britons admit their green habits are forgotten the minute they arrive on holiday.
Almost 90 per cent of people say that they regularly recycle bottles, cans and paper in their day-to-day life, but less than half keep up the good work when they go away.
One in five holidaymakers admit that they switch off completely when they’re on a beach break and don’t ever consider the environment.
The findings are part of part of the first “make holidays greener” week from 26 June -3 July, a national campaign from The Travel Foundation which urges people to do three things on their summer break this year to make a difference to the place they are visiting and the people that live there.
The campaign is being supported by travel firms including ABTA, The Co-operative Travel, Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook, Teletext Holidays, Holiday Extras, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.
Shopping for souvenirs in local markets, taking short showers rather than baths, not having towels laundered on a daily basis, turning off air-conditioning when it’s not needed are examples of some of the things that people are being urged to do.
Nikki White, Head of Destinations & Sustainability at ABTA said: “At home most of us now automatically take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and to make more informed buying choices, and this week proves just how easy it is to do it for holidays. For example, booking a hotel in the Travelife programme through your favourite travel company is one of the easiest ways to a greener holiday.
“The Make Holidays Greener week and Travelife initiative aren’t about being super-green or making carbon-neutral claims, but about how you can take some very simple steps that won’t cost you money and won’t mean you have to compromise on comfort, luxury or style. Holiday accommodation signed up to the Travelife initiative are mainstream hotels and apartments working hard to improve their own environmental performance and support local people.
“Nearly 40 million of us travelled abroad on holiday last year, and when we are in our holiday destination there are also some very simple things every one of us can do to protect scarce water supplies, reduce the amount of plastic waste that goes into landfill and support local people who depend on tourism to make a living.”
Sue Hurdle from The Travel Foundation said: “Make Holidays Greener Week marks the first time the industry has come together to promote greener holidays and what holidaymakers can do themselves to put something back into the destinations they love. We want everyone who travels this summer to be conscious about the simple things they can do to make a difference.
“From a very early age children are learning about the environment in school and how to be greener and they are often the ones who are nagging their mums and dads to turn off the lights when they’re not needed or to turn off the tap whilst they’re brushing their teeth. We now want them to replicate their green habits when they go on holiday.”
The survey found few people understand what’s meant by “green” or “sustainable” travel. More than a third said holiday accommodation, whether it’s a hotel or villa, doesn’t provide enough facilities or advice about how they can protect the environment while they are away.
The second edition of the Travelife Collection was launched last week on www.travelifecollection.co.uk. Hotels and apartments which have signed up to the Travelife initiative are sold through mainstream tour operators and have made a commitment to improve their local environment and to support their local communities. Look out for the hotels awarded with bronze, silver and gold rankings in ABTA Members’ brochures.