A consumer survey for homeworking firm Travel Counsellors has found over three quarters of holidaymakers look for sustainable credentials when making a booking.

The survey of 500 UK consumers revealed that 79% of travellers do consider the environmental impact of their trip as well as the implications on local economies, cultures and the natural heritage of the destination.

Travel Counsellors reported that it has seen an 11% increase from January to June in trips to South East Asia incorporating ethical travel elements and experiences, such as animal-friendly excursions and escorted tours managed by local residents.

With nearly half of the people surveyed travelling two to three times a year, over 60% believed the responsibility should be on travel companies and hotels to support sustainable tourism.


More: Travel Counsellors pushes ‘complex holidays’

Travel Counsellors tech chief on powering collaboration


The survey also found 72% of people agree that travel companies could do better in promoting the right sustainable products.

Steve Byrne, chief executive of Travel Counsellors, said; “This survey reveals that travellers are increasingly keen to ensure their holidays boast sustainable credentials and have a positive impact on the people, culture and environment of the destinations they travel to across the globe.

“While consumer demand for responsible travel options is becoming more and more tangible, travel companies must apply ongoing efforts to meet and exceed these expectations.

“As a business model focussed on caring for our people, our customers and the communities we work within, this approach comes with a real responsibility to protect the places that our customers travel to every day.”

Further survey results reflected an increasing desire to learn more about how tourism supports local people and the economy – a theme that was high on the agenda of 94% of travellers.

Podcast: Travel Counsellors’ Steve Byrne

Byrne added: “Education and knowledge sharing plays a vital part in travellers increasing interest and appetite for sustainable experiences, and travel companies can and should adopt a key role in supporting customers to make the best choices.

“We support 1,800 Travel Counsellors to understand their role in consumer buying decisions, and their responsibility to facilitate informed choices, by delivering online training modules and webinars on sustainable travel and responsible tourism.”

Travel Counsellors works with international charity, the Travel Foundation, to protect local economies and environments at popular holiday destinations.

The charity designs and delivers sustainable initiatives in mainstream tourism destinations, as well as providing guidance, training and expertise to travel companies globally.

Travel Counsellors has created a bespoke ‘Go Greener’ training programme, created in partnership with the Travel Foundation, for its agents.

With the majority of respondents aged 25-54, the survey results also indicated that consumers are taking a future-facing approach to ethical travel.

Graeme Jackson, head of partnerships at the Travel Foundation, said, “The findings from the survey are consistent with longer-term trends, as sustainability is becoming more and more of a priority for consumers.

“With the rise of the millennial generation and a heightened sense of awareness of our impact on the planet, companies are increasingly expected to make responsible decisions, reduce their environmental footprints and offer more sustainable products.”

Byrne said: “Together with the Travel Foundation, we are working towards enabling the destinations our customer travel to, to not only survive, but to thrive. It’s such an important issue in which we all a key role to play, for now, and for future generations to come.”