Sustainable tourism is more than just a new way to travel in an environmentally responsible way. It is becoming clear that it is an awareness of all those involved in the tourism process. Like many vacation destinations, hotels and guests are waking up to realise that a green mentality is spreading across more and more sectors of society.
A key part of this puzzle is the travel agency, which is often the first point of contract for a person in search of a holiday. Responsible Hotels has set out to explain just why this new focus is so important and what the most common customer requirements are.
Beginning with our Nordic neighbours, who were the first to awaken to this environmental awareness, this new practice has been spreading across Europe for years now. This progress has increased significantly over the last decade, including a growing level of involvement and demands from travellers regarding the sustainability of their destination and travel choices.
The British Travel Agents Association (ABTA) recently conducted a survey, where relevant data was available, regarding the role of this sector has to play within the context of responsible tourism.
1. Paying More For The Environment
According to data collected, 21% of consumers would pay more for their holidays in order to choose choose a company with a positive environmental and social track record. Travellers are increasingly more likely to consumer products and services that are environmentally conscious than from companies who are not.
2. A Responsible Destination Is the Agency’s Responsibility
However, one curious finding that may be of value to travel agencies is that responsible tourists - despite being aware of the environment – believe that the responsibility for sustainability lies mostly with travel companies. For them, it is the agency that must ensure that destinations offered are respectful to all principles of sustainable tourism.
3. Think Green? “Better That You Do It For Me?
Thus, 49% of respondents said that they do not want to ‘think green’ while on vacation. From the time they leave the house, they prefer to be done with that issue
and devote all of their time to fully enjoying their time off. This point makes clear that most travellers believe that it is up to the travel industry to lead on sustainability rather than it being an issue they have to pay attention to while their are on holiday.
4. Measuring The Sustainability Of An Agency
How can you tell if the travel agency you choose is consistent with responsible tourism? This is a question considered by many consumers and according to the ABTA survey, 36% of those asked supported the idea of establishing a ratings system on sustainability and social responsibilities, similar to start ratings for hotels.
5. The Younger You Are, The More Aware You Are
Another characteristic of responsible tourists is that they tend to be younger, according to the survey. Young people between the ages 16 and 24 were found to be the most sensitive to environmental projects linked to the tourism sector, suggesting that this attitude is like to grow among consumers.
6. Experiences Make For A Better Trip
One of the main reasons why customers are willing to pay more for their trips is because they are realising that sustainable vacation options tend to be better. For example, people are enjoying themselves more when they can taste typical local products or engage with the indigenous culture of their destination.
7. The Agencies Are Responsible
The message is clear for travel agencies. More and more consumers are demanding greater involvement and responsibility on their part in search of “green” tourism. Respondents to the survey made clear that they would prefer to leave their home knowing that their vacation meets all the requirements of sustainability and can enjoy their long-awaited holiday without worry.
Tags: responsible tourism