Last Friday I was in a bar when I was frustrated to be given a straw in my drink...
... but I was heartened to learn that despite its plastic appearance the straw was entirely made from corn plastic and 100% compostable (the barman even showed me the box as proof).
In the eight months since the Blue Planet II episode that highlighted the tragic consequences of pollution on marine life, the British public has been waking up to the need to reduce our plastic waste and overall environmental impact. From bars to supermarkets – plastic packaging is (rightly) becoming a pariah, and it’s largely down to public pressure.
It’s a message that hasn’t been lost on travel companies. In recent months cruise lines and hoteliers have been busy pledging to curb single-use plastic, while a number of tour operators have started producing reusable bottles for guests.
But plastic, of course, is just the tip of the sustainability iceberg. In this special themed issue, sponsored by G Adventures (complete with paper packaging), TTG explores the many other ways the travel industry is working to limit the environmental impact of the customers they take on holiday.
From animal welfare, improving equality for women, stamping out modern slavery and working to reduce poverty, responsible tourism encapsulates so much more than just sustainability.
And customers are becoming more vocal about such issues. As G Adventures’ UK boss Brian Young comments: “Consumers can see the impact they are having on a community by having a great time – it’s quite powerful to have that purpose.”
A survey in April by Booking.com found 87% of respondents said they wanted to travel sustainably, but 48% admitted they never or rarely manage to. Agents clearly still have work to do to convince their suppliers, but it is only by ramping up this pressure that we can enact such change.