LONDON – More than a million people celebrated the fairytale wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on the streets of London just over two weeks ago. Guests and tourists arrived from all over the world to be a part of the wedding extravaganza. The greenhouse emissions caused from such a large scale event* were partially balanced by the sourcing of fresh produce from local regions.
Perhaps this is a sign that, as demonstrated by the Transition Town Totnes**, more people in the United Kingdom are becoming aware of their impact on the environment on a daily basis. hotel.info, the free online hotel reservation service with more than 210,000 hotels worldwide, conducted a survey amongst its booking customers to determine the extent to which travellers are influenced by the eco-friendly choices available.. The results demonstrated:
- Efforts are made to safeguard the environment even during leisure time
- Often more attention is given to protecting the environment whilst travelling than at home
Protecting the environment in our daily life***
|Priority||Level of effort||%|
|1.||Saving water and energy||89.7|
|3.||Increased use of public transport||60.2|
|4.||Use of alternative ‘green’ energy||28.3|
|5.||Others, e.g. cycling and the purchase of locally grown produce||14.3|
Saving water and energy proves to be a high priority, with almost one third of participants choosing to make use of alternative energy sources. Almost one third of those surveyed separate their general waste for recycling. The use of public transport is growing in popularity due to the high cost of fuel and the considerable financial savings.
Protecting the environment whilst on holiday
|Priority||Level of effort||%|
|1.||Separating and reducing waste||77.9|
|2.||Saving water and energy||77.5|
|3.||Increased use of public transport||66.7|
|4.||Booking of environmentally friendly accommodation||53.6|
|5.||Travelling via the most eco-friendly mode of transport||45.3|
How do people from the UK really react on holiday when relaxation and sight-seeing are of key importance? Reducing and recycling waste come to the fore when considering the environment with approximately 80% of those questioned making a concerted effort whilst on holiday. Additionally, most travellers will dispose of waste correctly to avoid littering.
In contrast, fewer people pay attention to reducing water and energy consumption, with 77% of people remaining focussed on their usage.. Efforts including turning off air-conditioning when not in use and reusing hotel towels before they are replaced are key energy saving activities for both individuals and hotel owners. Furthermore, two thirds of travellers rely on eco-friendly modes of transport, such as public transport, and walking. Taking eco-tourism even further, and there are individuals that choose to travel to and from their holiday destination by train or boat to avoid air travel.
More than 50% of tourists also endeavour to book accommodation that focuses on minimising negative impacts on the environment. Hotel efforts may range from using alternative energy sources to serving meals prepared from organically grown ingredients.
In summary, the results of the survey conducted by hotel.info demonstrate that consumers are environmentally aware whilst on holiday and not just in their daily live: “This represents an opportunity for hoteliers to make their own contribution to the protection of the environment, while simultaneously becoming more attractive to potential guests,” said Warini Munshi, Managing Director of hotel.info.
* The Dominion Post reported that according to an estimate made by environmental researchers from the Institute for Landcare Research during the royal wedding the emissions caused by hotels and flights were equal to the total annual emissions of 1230 households.
** Transition Town Totnes (TTT) is a community-led charity involved with community issues such as climate change.
*** The results of a survey completed by booking customers of hotel.info from the United Kingdom during April 2011.