Survey highlights gap between intentions and actions over sustainable travel

Survey highlights gap between intentions and actions over sustainable travel

Research by ABTA has confirmed that holidaymakers’ intentions around sustainability don’t match up with the actions they take. 

For the first time ABTA’s Holiday Habits report asked consumers not only about their intentions with regards to travelling more responsibly but also asked what decisions, if any, they made about their holidays over the last 12 months based on sustainability factors.  

It found there was a significant gap between what people state as their intentions and how they actually behave. 

For example, 47% of the 2,000 Brits surveyed claimed to be conscious about the impact of air travel on the environment when making choices about their holiday, but only 12% took transport other than flying. 

Likewise, 44% said they would choose one hotel over another if it has a better track record on sustainability, but only 10% have actually done so. 

More than a third (37%) said they would be prepared to pay more for a holiday with a company based on a better environmental and social record, but only 9% have actually paid that premium. 

But the ABTA report says it would be a mistake to interpret these figures as a lack of proactiveness from consumers. 

“The gap between people saying they are likely to do something and acting on it can be large at times, but that doesn’t mean that consumer interest isn’t there,” says the report. 

“Instead, it should be looked at as an opportunity to encourage and support action to reduce the gap – not least as 43% of people who went on holiday in the last year said they would like advice from their travel company about how to make better choices for the environment and local people on holiday. 

“And we also need to recognise that there is still a significant proportion who see that responsibility for sustainability lies elsewhere – with 46% of people who took a holiday in the last year saying it is the travel company’s responsibility to be environmentally responsible – not mine. 

“It’s clear then that these are two important drivers for businesses when thinking about sustainability – the demand from some customers for advice on more sustainable options, and the expectation from others to provide them on their behalf. 

“This shows the importance of communicating with customers about sustainability strategies and more sustainable choices, but also the need to maintain momentum to address some of the environmental and social challenges facing the industry.” 

The findings were backed up by research by PwC, also shared at the conference, which found that 44% of Brits said they would not be willing to pay extra for a more sustainable holiday.

abta.com

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