Holidaymakers expect travel companies to take responsibility for “doing the right thing” in terms of looking after the environments of places they love to visit and of the people who live there, ABTA’s 2011 Consumer Trends survey, conducted by Arkenford, has found.
The survey found that a growing number of consumers – 50% (as opposed to 47% in 2010) believe that their holidays should help local people and the local economy. This belief was particularly notable among 55-64 year olds where six in 10 (60%) said they wanted their holidays to help, compared with 54% in 2010.
More than a third (34%) would like to know how travel companies are benefiting the destination they are going to and this figure rises to a half (50%) amongst an important consumer sector Arkenford calls ‘cosmopolitans’, who are holidaymakers, who take the most number of holidays a year, and who are early adopters of trends.
One in five holidaymakers believe that sustainability credentials are essential or important when they book their holiday, and this is particularly important among a younger age group: the figures escalate to one in four among 15-24 year olds and one in three of 25 to 34 year olds.
Also, nearly a fifth of the total – 19% – (with 23% of 25-34 year olds and 33% of what has been termed ‘cosmopolitans’) would choose one company over another based on better sustainability records.
A growing number – over a third (33%) – of holidaymakers believe that they should be able to make informed choices through environmental and social ratings – much like a star rating – when it comes to choosing holidays. Since 2010, this figure has risen by four percentage points and is good news for schemes such as the Travelife Sustainability System which rates holiday properties bronze, silver and gold depending on their sustainability achievements.
Nikki White, ABTA’s Head of Destinations & Sustainability said: “This survey gives travel companies a clear message that consumers expect their holiday company to both be environmentally and socially responsible – to the extent that trend-setters are beginning to change their holiday choices based on their concerns in this area.
“Sustainability is growing in importance, year on year, even in tough economic times. If travel companies don’t treat employees and local communities fairly, or are not looking after finite resources, then the consequences could damage holiday experiences and potentially ruin the chances of repeat bookings.
“ABTA will continue to help our Members develop best practice when it comes to sustainability. We will continue to grow and develop the Travelife Sustainability System so that tour operators can be confident that both they and the supply chains they use will continue to improve their sustainable practices. We will also be developing guidance for travel agents.”