Facing Up to Responsibility? The Travellers’ Take On Responsible Travel

Leeds, United Kingdom, November 10, 2006 --(PR.com)-- With tourism now the fastest growing industry* and with increasing concerns about its impact on the world, ‘responsible travel’ is fast becoming the hot topic of the day. But according to new research from meaningful travel specialist i-to-i, the average tourist could be doing more harm than good, with only one in six people (16 per cent) considering the environmental impact of their holidays.

In a hard-hitting survey of more than 1000 people, around a third (30 per cent) of those questioned claimed they were concerned that irresponsible travellers are destroying the world. Indeed, even more (32 per cent) said they were worried future generations wouldn’t be able to enjoy the same travel opportunities available now.

But i-to-i found when it came to the crunch, holidaymakers were reluctant to put their money where their mouth is, with less than a quarter (23 per cent) saying they would be willing to pay to offset the carbon emissions caused by their trips – even if their travel provider was willing to match their donations!

And a lowly one in five (20 per cent) said it was important that their travel experiences should benefit the local community of their destination country, falling to just 12 per cent with the 16-24 age group.

Deirdre Bounds, i-to-i founder comments “More and more ethical holiday options are now appearing on the market, but the research clearly shows more needs to be done to educate people on the impact of their travel choices. Whilst people are happy with responsible travel in theory, many need a nudge to turn this into action.

“Just over a quarter of survey participants (28 percent) considered it important to put something back into the community through a worthwhile travel experience such as community or conservation work. Yet this means over two thirds of travellers would still prefer to opt for a more traditional ‘mindless’ holiday option.”

i-to-i also found the following regional variations:
• Nearly half of all Londoners (45 per cent) are concerned irresponsible travellers are destroying the world, compared to a national average of 28 per cent. Scottish travellers are the least concerned at just 24 per cent.
• People in the North West are the most willing to pay to offset their carbon emissions (40 per cent, compared to 29 per cent nationally).
• Londoners are also most conscious that their travels should benefit local economies overseas (34 per cent compared to 20 per cent nationally).

The i-to-i research also revealed the following age variations:
• Retirees (aged 55-64) are the most likely to worry about the state of the planet for future generations. Forty per cent said they were concerned, compared to just 29 per cent of 16-24-year-olds.
• Older people (55-64 years) were also the most likely to be willing to offset their carbon emissions (36 per cent).
• Only one in 10 of 16-24-year-olds questioned said it was important that their holidays would benefit their destination country – half the national average.

Bounds concludes, “The survey results may not be at 100 percent in favour of opting for responsible travel just yet but, there are positive signs that things are moving in the right direction and we can see where there is room for improvement. We certainly look forward to investigating again next year and seeing an even greater leap towards more responsibly-minded travellers.”


Research was carried out by TNS amongst 1,001 16-64 year olds.
* Source: Responsible-travel.org

For further press information or photography, please contact Sarah Horner on 0113 205 4628/sarah.horner@i-to-i.com or Jo Little on 0113 205 4569/jo.little@i-to-i.com

1. i-to-i is a volunteer travel and TEFL training organisation based in Leeds, UK; Denver, USA; Melbourne, Australia and Co. Waterford, Ireland. Each year it sends around 5,000 volunteers to work on 500 projects in 22 countries worldwide and trains a further 15,000 people to teach English as a foreign language.

2. i-to-i is a founding member of the Year Out Group, associate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘Know Before You Go’ Campaign, member of the Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations and has training accreditation from the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council.
Jo Little