ABTA finds green values high on holiday lists

As the tourism trade grapples with the credit crunch, there’s good news from the annual ABTA conference in Gran Canaria. An extensive survey conducted for the Association of British Travel Agents, shows that a towering 83 % pf people think it is important that their holiday should not damage the environment.

Maspalomas dunes

Speaking at the Maspalomas conference centre, ABTA head of business development and consumer affairs, Keith Richards, revealed the results of the Ipsos MORI poll of 702 people, and called climate change “the biggest challenge the industry faces”.

Asked to rate the importance of environmental issues when booking holidays, the 82 %  divided into 36 % saying it was “very important” 47 % “fairly important” 12 %  “not very important” and just 4 % rated it “not important at all”. More specific questions revealed that 54 % were interested in finding out more about the local environmental and social issues in their chosen resort, before booking. Many holiday makers are now keen to go native, 83 % said it was important to try the local cuisine and experience local culture, and 77 % of holiday makers felt it important that local people benefit from tourism to their chosen area.

Mr Richards stressed the impact that intrusive tourism was having by saying “the scientific evidence is compelling. In the last 7 years we have seen changes that would normally take 1,000 years, and that has consequences for every environment around the globe”.

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