Travel agents urged to offer greener holidays

The British travel industry must change its irresponsible ways when it comes to the environment and do more to minimise impacts, especially on climate, environmental campaigners have said.

Aviation came under the spotlight once again as the worst culprit with calls for a “realistic approach” towards future growth of the airline industry as Britain’s travel agents met for their annual convention in Marbella.

Flights are the fastest contributor to global carbon dioxide, environmental group Friends of the Earth said, and could account for 100% of the UK’s emission quota by 2050 if current growth rates continue, research from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change has shown. Business as usual would therefore render carbon cut targets virtually impossible to attain, Friends of the Earth said.

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said: “In common with other business sectors the British travel industry must play its part in helping to cut the emissions causing climate change, the biggest threat the planet faces.

“Aviation can continue to be an important part of the travel sector, but the growth expected in the coming years is not compatible with protecting climatic stability. Unless urgent action is taken to avoid the anticipated and unsustainable growth in air travel, we will not be able to prevent the build up of emissions in the atmosphere from reaching dangerous levels”.

“Four fifths of all UK trips abroad are within Europe. Many of these destinations could easily be reached by rail. ABTA members must do more to get people out of planes and onto trains.”

Speaking at the ABTA annual meeting, he urged travel agents to

  • promote rail over other transport for short-haul journeys

  • stop supporting airport expansion

  • raise awareness about the environmental benefits of more local holiday-making

  • inform clients about carbon emissions from trips using different forms of transport

  • work with rail companies

  • support sustainable holidays and resorts

    Goska Romanowicz

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