When we published our report in December last year – looking at the big travel trends for 2018 – we predicted that more and more consumers would think about responsible tourism when making choices about their holidays. ABTA research shows that almost 70% of people now believe that travel companies should ensure their holidays help the local people and economy.
We also said that we expect travel companies would be doing more to manage the impact tourism has on the environment and local people.
There are many sustainability issues which fall under the banner of ‘responsible tourism’ but there are two which have certainly captured the headlines this year: plastics and animal welfare, with the latter very much leading the news agenda this week.
Off the back of news that Thomas Cook will no longer sell attractions which feature captive orcas, which captured widespread media attention, ABTA was asked to comment on a range of animal welfare matters including tourists interacting with animals in the wild after a polar bear in Norway was shot by a cruise ship guard, and donkeys being used by tourists in Santorini.
It is five years since ABTA published the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism – the first guidance of its kind in the world following engagement from a very wide selection of stakeholders.
These guidelines are intended to provide practical guidance for suppliers, encouraging good practice in animal protection and welfare, and they’re a valuable tool for Members. A lot of work has been done since the guidelines were launched. ABTA Members have been taking actions such as assessing attractions, including animal welfare standards as part of supplier contracts and carrying out independent audits. And together we are responding to emerging issues as new evidence comes to light.
More details on ABTA’s animal welfare guidelines can be found here.
I’m really pleased to let you know that the Stop Sickness Scams campaign, which we launched more than a year ago to tackle the growing problem of fake holiday sickness claims, has been shortlisted for a PR Week Award – recognising the work ABTA and its Members have done to raise public and government awareness of false claims and secure regulatory change. The results will be announced in October.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive