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Travel industry is getting greener again, albeit slowly

Travel industry is getting greener again, albeit slowly

The global travel industry is taking the environment more seriously this year than last, reveals the World Travel Market London 2017 Industry Report released Monday 6 November at WTM London.

In the annual poll of industry professionals, 71% of respondents said that the environment was quite (35%) or extremely (36%) important to their business. This is more than 10% higher than last year, when the total was 31% and 30% respectively.

In both years, one in ten of the sample said that the environment was not at all or not very important.

However, the renewed commitment to sustainability revealed in the 2017 Report, compared with 2016, is still some way short of the level of interest revealed in the 2015 and 2014 reports. In 2015, 82% said that the environment was quite (44%) or very (38%) important while 2014 the proportion was even higher with 86% claiming the environment was important.

This year’s report also found a slight increase in the number of businesses with a carbon emissions reduction policy, although more than one-third (38%) of travel firms do not have a policy in place. However, this is better than 2016 when 46% of the sample were ignoring the issue. In 2015 the proportion without a policy was also 46%.

One-in-four (25%) respondents said in the current report that their firm had a policy and was implementing it, compared with one-in-five (20%) in 2016. This year’s figure is close to 2015 when 27% of respondents said they were implementing a policy in their business.

But there are still 6% of firms in 2017 who have a policy but are not enforcing it, a slight improvement on 2016’s 8%. In 2015 it was back at 6%.

The most common responses this year, when asked about what was holding back wider adoption, were around the perceived additional cost of carbon-friendly practices and the feeling that there is little public support.

When asked how travel compares with other industries when it comes to reducing emission, 43% believe travel is doing a better job. In 2016, 38% said travel was leading the way.

And when it comes to who should be taking the lead on reducing carbon emissions, 50% said the industry should take responsibility with 46% laying the onus on governments. Last year the emphasis on industry action was stronger, with 55% of the sample saying travel firms should take control with 42% leaving it up to the governments.

The annual Word Travel Market London 2017 Industry Report also asks UK travellers about their attitude towards responsible tourism. The report released today shows that 76% of British holidaymakers consider the environment when making their travel decisions, a single percentage point higher than in 2016.

However, when asked about sustainability in the 2015 Report, only 61% of Brits were thinking about the environment when thinking about travel.

World Travel Market London’s Paul Nelson, said: “The travel industry has been talking about the need to reduce carbon emissions for some time. These findings show the situation is getting better, but still has much room for improvement, starting with those firms which do have a policy in place making sure it is implemented.

“The annual report also helps track consumer attitudes over time, and it looks as if British travellers are thinking more about the environment than a few years ago.

“Suppliers which implement and promote green initiatives can tap into this interest from travellers for the good of their business, their travellers’ experience and of course the planet.”

eTN is a media partner for WTM.

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