Comment: Show responsibility, OTAs

Comment: Show responsibility, OTAs

Heartening news this week, with research suggesting almost three out of five holidaymakers in Europe would choose a more sustainable holiday if these were generally available, up from two out of five just four years ago. And it’s doubly heartening to hear it is UK shop staff driving contributions to sustainability projects in destinations.

The same survey, conducted by Tui, shows a significant increase in awareness of sustainability among UK consumers. So I’m delighted we can report the findings in this Responsible Travel Special Edition.

Tui features heavily. That is because the group, along with Abta-owned sustainability certification scheme Travelife, is at the forefront of making mainstream travel more sustainable. Tui reports it took 6.3 million customers on “greener, fairer holidays” in 2016 and has pledged to take 10 million by 2020. At a minimum, that means holidaymakers staying in hotels certified to standards audited by Travelife and similarly accredited schemes worldwide.

Of course, lots of other companies are acting to develop more-sustainable ways of operating. What is missing are the biggest online travel agents. Booking.com and Expedia show little sign of identifying certified accommodation on their sites. No doubt there are challenges in doing so, but between them Expedia and Booking.com parent Priceline handled bookings to a value in excess of $140 billion last year. Shouldn’t it be relatively straightforward to display a Travelife or similar logo and offer search by ‘sustainable tourism certification’?

I regret I must end on a sad note. The death of Maureen Hill this week cast a pall over our office. Maureen, a much-loved columnist for Travel Weekly for many years, deserves your many tributes.

Editor’s comment from August 3 edition of Travel Weekly

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