Tag Archives: Green Holidays

“Eco-Friendly Travel: The Large Discrepancy Between Travelers’ Beliefs and Actions”

A recent study by Phocuswright reveals a significant gap between what travellers believe about Sustainable Tourism and their actual practices. The research, presented at a conference in Florida, focused on six Western markets: the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Through an online survey conducted from June 2 to June 26, 2023, and in-depth interviews with various travel industry participants, the study gathered insights from over 5,000 respondents and 21 organisations. None of the participants knew they were being surveyed regarding Sustainable Travel. This underlines the differences between what travellers say and do without the focus on the environmental spotlight. 

Sustainable Travel – Tourists Intentions and Actual Behaviours

The presentation thoroughly explored the disparity between travellers’ sustainable intentions and actual behaviours. This insightful research, designed to uncover authentic travel patterns without the bias of sustainability as a focus, combined surveys and in-depth interviews with industry experts.

Traveller’s Understanding of Sustainability

The study found general confusion among travellers about what constitutes sustainable Travel. They are familiar with basic environmental measures, such as littering, recycling, using public transport (less so in the US), conserving energy in hotels, avoiding single-use plastics, and opting out daily hotel linen changes. Their grasp of cultural and economic sustainability is limited.

Green Transportation Choices

About half of the travellers in the US and Europe claimed they would prefer transportation options based on their carbon footprint rather than convenience. However, the number of those making eco-friendly transportation choices was closer to one in ten.

Lodging and Accommodation Selection

A similar pattern was observed in lodging choices. Despite a significant proportion of travellers expressing a preference for environmentally friendly accommodations, only 6% to 13% actually considered such factors among their top priorities when selecting lodging.

Destination Choices and Overcrowding

Many travellers expressed a desire to avoid overcrowded, famous destinations in favour of less crowded ones. While this area had a slightly better follow-through, a substantial gap between belief and behaviour existed.

Support for Local Communities

A notable discrepancy was found between travellers’ professed desire to support local communities and their actual practices. Less than a quarter inquired or verified if their choices (like food or lodging) were locally sourced or owned.

Perception of Responsibility and Impact

Many travellers do not see sustainability as their individual responsibility and believe that governments, destination organisations, or travel providers should lead sustainability efforts. This perception contributes to the gap between their sustainable intentions and actions.

Cost Concerns and Premium Tolerance

Many travellers perceive sustainable travel options as more expensive. However, they are willing to pay a premium (10-15% more) for recognisable sustainable choices.

Recommendations for Bridging the Gap

  • Increase and Highlight Sustainable Options: Travel providers need to offer more sustainable choices that are clearly marked and easily accessible.
  • Affordable Sustainability: Introduce options at various prices to ensure sustainability is not perceived as a luxury.
  • Education on Sustainability: There’s a critical need for comprehensive education about all aspects of sustainability, including over-tourism and cultural impacts.
  • Meeting Travelers Where They Are: The industry should work towards building a deeper understanding of sustainability among travellers, starting from their current level of awareness and misconceptions.

The presentation highlighted the urgent need to bridge the gap between what travellers believe about sustainable Travel and what they practice. This requires a concerted effort from travel providers to offer viable, sustainable options, clear communication, and education to help travellers make informed decisions that align with their sustainable intentions. 

There is no mention of attitudes toward flying. 

Nevertheless, the research didn’t touch on attitudes to the general concept of reducing air travel. This is a hard sell if your business model relies on carbon-intensive transport. According to the research, numerous travellers are prepared to pay more to make greener choices, which is positive news. Perhaps communicating the environmental benefits of reducing short-haul flights, particularly in Europe, may help spread a message of sustainable tourism.   

This study underscores the need for increased awareness and education about sustainable travel practices among consumers and the role of travel providers in promoting eco-friendly options.    

Fancy a conservation holiday in Scotland?

If lying by the pool in the sun doesn’t float your boat, then how about an eco-holiday with a difference? Fancy doing something active and at the same time help restore some of Scotland’s wilderness?

You can do just that with Trees for Life as they restore about 1,000 square miles of Caledonian Forest, in the Highlands to the west of Loch Ness and Inverness back to wilderness. Trees for Life is running Conservation Weeks at eight locations in the Highlands between mid-March and November. In addition, to mark the Year of Natural Scotland, Trees for Life is introducing new Wildlife Weeks for conservation volunteers who also want to spend extra time learning about and observing the Caledonian Forest’s outstanding wildlife. The specially-designed Wildlife Weeks include day trips to the Isle of Skye to see white-tailed eagles, the third largest eagle in the world; to Aigas Field Centre at Beauly, Inverness-shire to see the beavers living on the loch; and the opportunity to feed wild boar at Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Estate in Glen Moriston to the west of Loch Ness.

The work can be physically demanding, so volunteers need a reasonable level of fitness, but the Conservation Weeks suit all abilities and anyone over 18 years old can take part. There is no upper age limit. “We have pledged to establish one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration within the next five years. Every volunteer who takes part in our Conservation Weeks will be helping to achieve something very special,” said Alan Watson Featherstone.

You might want to combine the trip with a week in a Scottish log cabin or cosy cottage, the EcoHolidayShop has lots to choose from with green credentials.

BBC Wildlife Magazine has voted Trees for Life’s Conservation Weeks as one of the Top 10 Conservation Holidays in the World, a green choice of a holiday for sure.  For more details, see www.treesforlife.org.uk or call 0845 458 3505.

Why not explore Britain’s best cottage holiday destinations this summer

On a dull January day, nothing beats the blues like booking a cottage for a short break or summer holiday. The UK has some great holiday destinations and a wide range of self-catering options, many in our beautiful National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  And, although it’s early to think of a dip in the sea, how about considering the cleanliness of the beach and the water quality? A must if you have young children. You can search for Blue Flag beaches on Cottage World, as well a looking for properties in National Parks, holiday cottages that allow dogs, or are near a pub! There’s lots of choice, from a Grade II house in Pembrokeshire that sleeps 10, with it’s own hot tub to a cosy barn conversion in Exmoor for just 2.  

Holiday in the UK is a green choice

At last the temperature has risen and the sun is out, and thoughts of a trip to the beach in the UK instead of jetting of to the sun enter our heads.  A change of scenery can be great to lift the mood and England has some stunning beaches, Wales some glorious coastline as does Scotland and Ireland and the beaches in the Channel Islands are some of the best to be found.  Taking a holiday in the UK, and not flying abroad, is a far greener option.  Camping – either in taking your own tent, or more up market glamping in a yurt, tepee or camping pod is a great way to lessen the impact of your holiday.  There are so many styles of self-catering accommodation to choose from many of which are listed on the EcoHolidayShop from cottages in Cornwall to log cabins in the Lake District, this website lists lots of holiday properties that have green credentials, many of which are part of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, which accredits properties working to be eco-friendly.  For a wider choice of UK based holiday cottages or log cabins Cottage World has a whole host of properties to choose from.

If you have a dog lots of places let you take your pet and that saves on kennel fees too, although as well a choosing a pet-friendly accommodation, if it’s near the beach, it’s worth checking that the beach allows dogs too. Some beaches don’t allow dogs during the summer months, however I was amazed how many beaches in Cornwall allowed dogs on them even in the middle of August!

Another advantage of a UK holiday, if you’re into cycling, is that you can take your bike with you, and that enables you to explore a wider area, without the use of a car.  There are lots of cycle routes around including some great off-road trails and forest cycle paths that are family-friendly.  And whilst walking might not sound that exciting, it is a great way to get to know an area. What could be better than an exhilarating walk along a coastal footpath finishing at a pub for lunch?

Fish and chips by a harbour, rock-pooling with the kids, canoeing along a river, surfing the waves, swimming in a loch or lake, fishing off the peer: simple pleasures worth experiencing.  We are fortunate to have so much variety of holidays to choose from. As well as camping or caravanning holidays, staying in a cottage or log cabin can be a green choice, or how about a canal holiday? or sleeping under the stars in a shepherd’s hut? Whatever you choose, even if it’s just for this year, taking a holiday in Britain, not only helps the UK economy but is also better for the environment.