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PLATFORM FOR CHANGE: Making travel more sustainable


Since the pandemic, almost a fifth of people surveyed said they have had their eyes opened to the need to look after the planet more, especially when it comes to travel.

The ‘Platform for change’ initiative is a collective goal to make the tourism industry sustainable, as Dr Harold Goodwin explains.

World Travel Market London has launched it’s ‘Platform For Change’ initiative to push the boundaries of responsible tourism.

In a survey, 31% of respondents living in Manchester see people just having the desire to go on holiday with no regard for the implications of their impact on the planet when it comes to climate change.

One fifth (20%) of respondents living in the North West reporting that they do not know how to travel more sustainably even when they have the desire to do so.

While many people in the UK wish to travel sustainably, a lack of education (18%) and perceived cost (16%) is discouraging people from doing so, and despite 12% admitting to feeling guilty about the impact flying has on the climate, 16% think it is up to travel companies rather than themselves to make their travel experience sustainable.

The younger generation would pay more to travel in a sustainable way, if brands helped them to do so, (17% of 16–24-year-olds), such as carbon offsetting their flight with this intent decreasing to 9% of 35-44 year old’s, yet the younger age group currently see sustainable travel as far too expensive with 20% of 16-24 year old’s not feeling it financially viable to holiday responsibly.

How we as consumers tackle this issue divide’s opinion on generational lines with 19% of 25–34-year-olds feeling that people are not educated on the impacts of their actions compared to only 9% of those aged over 55.

Indeed, when it comes to holiday habits, 14% of consumers are not putting sustainability at the top of their checklist for their next trip, with this most prevalent among those aged 55+ (18%). This is compared to the one in ten (10%) (rising to 15% among 25–34-year-olds) who are making sustainability their No 1 priority for their next trip away.

When it comes to climate change a quarter of people (25%) believe the biggest problem the tourism industry faces is the likely ‘backward steps in the sand’ towards people just wanting to go on holiday again without thinking about the implications of their actions on the planet.

Another 16% of respondents blame the aviation industry, more so than cruise liners (5%) and train travel (3%). How the industry responds to concerns around both affordability and broader traveller education around the choices available to them will be key to securing a responsible future and a significant focus of WTM London’s new initiative.

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