Opinion: The power of 'positive pester' can make holidays greener

Opinion: The power of 'positive pester' can make holidays greener

By Sue Hurdle, chief executive, The Travel Foundation

The term “pester power” almost always tends to have negative connotations - sweets, toys, video games, gadgets... a steady stream of want, want, want.

Yet, there are times when it can be desirable, particularly when it comes to changing parents’ habits in a positive way.

There’s increasing evidence that, through pester power, children are influencing their parents’ buying behaviours. 

A recent YoungPoll survey of more than 650 six to 15-year-olds, revealed more than 60% of children and young people say their parents let them have a say in where they go on holiday, at least some of the time.

The same poll showed that just over a third of youngsters say it matters to them that holiday companies commit to protecting the environment, while half of all children polled think travel companies will need to be greener in 10 years’ time.

Reading between the lines, it’s not hard to see where this is going. Let’s get ahead of the game.

If “reduce, reuse, recycle” is a message even primary school children are familiar with these days, let’s make sure the holiday bookers of tomorrow know their good work should continue on holiday.

I'm talking about things like bringing presents back for friends that have been locally produced and are not made of sea creatures, shells or animals of any kind, exploring and having adventures, trying some of the local food and being careful where they put their litter.

These are all actions which children can relate to and can also have a huge impact on parents through the power of “positive pester”.

Our travel partners also believe that educating children about sustainable tourism is a great way to communicate with mum and dad.

Thomas Cook has been running recycling workshops in its kids clubs throughout the month of July and offers excursions based around a sustainable message, which particularly appeal to children.

TUI UK & Ireland is continuing with its Eco Traveller programme, which aims to teach half a million children about the impacts of their holidays and what they can do to improve them

That’s why, as part of our Make Holidays Greener Month, children have been a focus.

Illustrator Rachel Bright (who created the lovely posters for this year’s campaign) has designed new children’s activity sheets, featuring the loveable “Hatch the Turtle” character, which travel agents can download from our website makeholidaysgreener.org.uk.

They can give this to customers when they come into the shop. They’re perfect for keeping children occupied and contain lots of fun activities designed to both educate and stimulate.

So, embrace the power of pester and use Make Holidays Greener Month as a hook to engage families with the idea that more sustainable holidays are better holidays.


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