Abta has launched its 2018 Make Holidays Greener campaign - and is urging the industry to “say no to plastics”.
The association has joined forces with Travelife to call on companies to end the scourge of environmentally toxic single-use plastics, in particular.
Make Holidays Greener 2018, said Abta, aims to capitalise on a “tipping point” in public awareness about the damage plastics cause the environment.
Millions tuned into the finale of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, which made its own plea for a reduction in plastic waste, set to shots of animals unwittingly feeding their young plastic, as well as seas and beaches festooned with discarded plastic waste.
The campaign will run until the end of September, highlighting the work being done on plastics across the travel industry.
It is underpinned by a 15-point sustainable holiday pledge, which the association is urging people to adopt, even if only in part. Tenets beyond action on plastics include eating locally, taking shorter showers and reusing towels.
Abta said nearly 1,000 sustainable holidays pledges were made, while around 2,500 took part in 79 clean-up operations.
Businesses, tourist boards and hotels are all urged to take their own action such as plastic-free initiatives, organising their own clean-ups or encouraging suppliers to consider plastic alternatives.
Plastics have long been part go Abta’s sustainability strategy, which has looked at issues such as waste management and recycling, while Travelife has introduced a sustainability certifications scheme for hotels and other forms of accommodation.
Nikki White, Abta’s director of destinations and sustainability, said: “The seismic shift in public attitudes means customers now have higher expectations about the use of plastics and are wanting to take action themselves too. We’d encourage all to get involved – as every actions counts.
“Holidaymakers can take part in a beach clean, take a reusable bag on their next trip or make a holiday pledge on the Make Holidays Greener website. Not only will it contribute to having a great holiday, but also help to ensure their chosen destination is preserved for years to come.
“Almost 70% of consumers now think travel companies should ensure their holidays help the local people and economy, and businesses can use this to drive for a change in their approach internally, as well as with suppliers and destinations.”