Third of UK travellers would go green

As many as 34% of British holidaymakers are
willing to spend more to reduce the impact of travelling on the environment,
according to a survey conducted by email research specialists, emedia, using
their RapidResearch service.The survey also reveals that travellers are becoming increasingly concerned
about the effect of their consumer habits on the planet. An overwhelming 76%
more respondents said they would take into account environmental impact when
booking their holidays this year compared with last year.
Tourists are prepared to adopt several measures to be more eco-friendly,
including offsetting arrangements (33%), use of an alternative mode of transport
(30%), travelling closer to home (28%) or paying a green tax on fares (25%).
Awareness of environmental sustainability is strong amongst holidaymakers, with
64% believing that travel has a negative impact on the planet. However emedia’s
survey indicates there is still an ‘action gap’, with only 19% of those surveyed
willing to change their travel behaviour in 2007.
‘Green’ travel may not have ‘taken off’ till now due to consumers’ scepticism. The
research shows that over half (57%) of respondents are yet to be convinced that
a shift in their attitude will make a difference.
“A 76% growth in the number of respondents from 2006 to 2007 who are ready to
take into account environmental impact when booking holidays is staggering,”
says David Clark, managing director at emedia. “Companies need to position
their holiday and leisure products in the context of green messages to stay in
tune with market behaviours. Personal Travel Bulletin readers are typically well
paid, well educated management professionals. So we think it’s likely that thesechanges are occurring fastest amongst those who travel frequently and spend
Keith Richards, head of consumer affairs at ABTA, comments “Consumers can
only make informed decisions if they have clear information about the impact of
what they do, good or bad. Currently there’s too little reliable information out
there. Air passengers already pay £1.8 billion a year to the Government Air
Passenger Duty tax. Not a penny of which is spent on improving the environment
or incentivising change. This probably explains the gap between consumer desire
and action.”
Michael Buick, communication manager at Climate Care, one of the leading
carbon offsetting providers, adds “With more people prepared to pay extra than
those prepared to change their behaviour, carbon offsets clearly have an
important role in engaging the many rather than the few. Paying a transparent
carbon price per trip, with the money raised funding carbon reductions
elsewhere, is a great first step towards responsible travel.”
With the growing concern about climate change amongst holidaymakers, emedia
intends to run the survey again within 12 months to establish whether the ‘action
gap’ is likely to be reduced. emedia’s online surveys quickly and effectively
measure responses at a point in time and the same survey may, when executed
at a different time, yield different results. Rate of change will vary according to
whether the responses are based on knowledge, fashion, attitude or value,
ordered by decreasing rate of change. emedia surveys attract sufficient
responses to be statistically representative and prove to be useful for later