In a recent consumer survey carried out by the German tourism industry under the Green Travel Transformation Initiative (GTTI) a huge gap was identified between what customers would like from a holiday and what they actually book.
70 percent of holidaymakers said they paid attention to sustainability or would like their holiday to be sustainable (53.7 percent), but sustainability was only a key aspect for 6.7 percent of people, when it came to the actual booking of the holiday.
Part of this disconnect is that 75 percent of consumers believe sustainable holidays are more expensive and it’s not always easy to identify which trips or hotels would be ranked as 'sustainable'.
A green leaf symbol is now being used in the printed brochures of Thomas Cook and FTI, and on travel agents 'Bistro' booking system. The symbol covers 13 different ‘green’ certification schemes that meet the standards of the Global Sustainable Travel Council, including hotels, incoming agencies and destination services suppliers.
“We have so far labelled about 6,000 hotels and 1,200 tourism suppliers with the green leaf symbol,” said Stephan Busch, whose company Travel Bridge is responsible for the Green Travel Index database that the symbol is based on.
The next steps will be to encourage online holiday booking companies such as Tripadvisor and Bookings.com to adopt this best practice sustainable travel labelling, and then move to influence other aspects of travel, such as airlines.
Innovative start-ups such as Velocys, based in the USA/UK are developing waste-to-sustainable jet fuel technology, which transforms waste wood into aviation fuel.
They have secured £4.9m of funding to deliver the next phase of develop in the UK, which includes £434k from the Department for Transport under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition.
They also have the additional endorsement from Shell who are supplying technical support and British Airways who will be using fuel produced from the plant. This will certainly boost their green credentials and with green labelling will enable holidaymakers to book the sustainable holidays they desire.
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