The travel industry raised awareness of greener holidays to thousands of holidaymakers worldwide via a summer campaign run by Abta and Travelife for Hotels and Accommodation.
As well as a long-standing beach clean activity, the Make Holidays Greener initiative introduced 15 pledges to help holidaymakers be more sustainable on holiday.
The 15 pledges covered all aspects of a holiday from taking care of the local environment to supporting local communities in holiday destinations and included simple actions like eating local food to saying no to plastic. There was also the option to design your own pledge.
More than 840 pledges were made by holidaymakers.
Eating and drinking at local restaurants was the most popular pledge, with 213 holidaymakers saying they would do this on their summer holiday.
Another 79 promised to switch off electricity, 79 said they would reduce, reuse and recycle on holiday and 72 said they would learn the local language and talk to the locals.
More than 2,500 people were estimated to have been involved in 79 beach clean-ups this year. So far 4,660kg of rubbish has been collected across 17 countries worldwide.
Abta member, Noble Caledonia gave their customers the opportunity to take part in a clean-up as part of an expedition aboard MS Hebridean Sky in Norway.
Two Travelife Gold Hotels including Diamonds La Gemma dell’ Est in Zanzibar and Atlantica Princess in Rhodes in Greece both managed to collect 350kg of rubbish each.
Barrhead Travel committed to a plastic free day in its office, while Midcounties Co-operative encouraged customers to make a pledge to receive extra loyalty points.
Tui Group will have completed 49 beach cleans by the end of September having already collected 1,700kg of waste throughout July and August.
Thomas Cook Mexico organised a turtle conservation project and other Abta members have been actively promoting the 15 pledges using the hashtag #MHG17 on social media.
The association’s destinations and sustainability director Nikki White said: “We are delighted with the number of pledges that holidaymakers and the travel industry have made to reduce and improve their environmental and socio-economic impacts in destinations.
“Make Holidays Greener 2017 has raised awareness of the various ways we can help through the 15 pledges which also included buying local souvenirs, protecting local children and saving water. I would like to thank everyone who has taken part this year.”
Stavros Panayides, manager of Mythos Beach Resort, a Travelife Gold certified hotel in Rhodes, said: “We have been participating in the Make Holidays Greener campaign for some years. In particular, we have involved a special needs children’s school and an orphanage to participate in the beach clean-ups as well as our guests and staff members.
“We wanted to highlight the importance of keeping the environment clean and to maintaining the natural habitat and we believe it sets a good example to surrounding businesses. We look forward to participating in next year’s campaign.”
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