Fifty shades of green – who should take control of the environmental impact of travel?

Fifty shades of green – who should take control of the environmental impact of travel?

Travellers and the tourism industry are at odds over what sustainability means, whose responsibility it is and how green they really are, reveals the World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report, released today (Monday 2 November) at World Travel Market London.

Environmental concerns in the travel industry are returning to centre stage after a few years on the sidelines when managing the global recession was the priority for most travel businesses. However, as the global economic situation settles down, sustainability is back on the agenda.

The World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report asked UK consumers and the global travel industry a number of questions about the environment and tourism.

The findings from the UK holidaymakers showed that 61% of respondents claimed that the environment and sustainability were quite or very important (46% and 15% respectively) in their choice of holiday destination. On the other hand this means that balance of 39% say it is a not very or not at all important (32% and 7%).

However, 74% of the sample never offset their carbon emissions when flying, although in a separate question 30% said they would be willing to pay more for a more environmentally-friendly holiday.

Respondents were asked for specific details about what they did on holiday in terms of minimising their impact on the environment – 61% visit local attractions with 52% buying local goods as souvenirs, 52% re-use bath towels and 44% use public transport to get around.

This means that 81% claim to think about the environment when actually on holiday, suggesting that UK holidaymakers are more environmentally aware in general than they give themselves credit for.

But a significant minority – 40% – put the onus on the industry to do more to help reduce travel’s contribution to climate change. Almost two thirds (60%) think the trade is doing enough.

When asked a similar set of questions, industry representatives revealed a surprisingly cavalier approach to taking control of the sustainability question. Sustainability is quite or very important to a total of 81% of respondent’s organisations. But having said that, nearly half (46%) of businesses do not have a carbon emissions policy specifically –  a further 23% were unable to say  whether or not their organisation had one at all.

Only 27% had a policy in place and implemented it – and 6% admitted that there was a carbon emission policy in place but that it was ignored.

WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “These findings show that there is still a lot of confusion around how UK travellers see their travel in relation to the environment. It looks as if carbon offsetting for flights is struggling to gain acceptance, at the same time as travellers in resort are thinking about their environmental footprint.

“For the industry, it is a big surprise that there are so many businesses without a carbon reduction policy in place.”

The cost of implementing a policy and a lack of knowledge were cited as the major reasons why businesses struggle with their approach to reducing carbon emissions.

Press continued: “WTM will continue to work hard to make sure that the industry is not only aware of its obligations but also has the information needed to put sustainability at the heart of its business culture.”


About World Travel Market London

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

Almost 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM London, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.

WTM London is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market events, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa.

World Travel Market Events

World Travel Market is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; World Travel Market London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

New events for 2016 are WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China, which join WTM connect Ski and International Golf Travel Market. These unique one-to-one events are targeted at leisure and niche travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.

The World Travel Market events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.

In 2014, the World Travel Market events facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events.

WTM is  part of Reed travel Exhibitions, the leading events organizer in the travel industry, and is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.

Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.

RTE, which organises more than 22 events around the world, includes three divisions; World Travel Market, IBTM Events and International Luxury Travel Market.

RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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