Sustainable trips will be consumer-led, says Audley Travel CMO

Consumers’ holiday choices are likely to force travel firms to become more sustainable in future, according to Audley Travel chief marketing officer Dan Robb.

He was speaking at the launch of the operator’s The Premium Travel Report, in which 57% of 2,000 consumers surveyed said they wanted more sustainable travel options.

He said “now was not the time to take such a big leap forward” but noted: “It’s coming. I think it will be led by client choice. They will demand the ability to lower their imprint.”

He admitted the industry could have “embraced these challenges” earlier but stressed the last three years had been “just appalling” for the sector.

Audley Travel became a B Corp business earlier this year and is adding more sustainable and responsible tourism options to its portfolio for 2024.

Robb stressed it was not be up to one firm to lead the way, but insisted: “I think there is a growing realisation globally that air travel has to be addressed for its carbon footprint. We would be at the forefront of that.”

He added: “We have asked people if they would pay a surcharge for long-haul travel and the honest answer is low single digits are in favour. It will be led by client choice; they will demand the ability to lower their imprint.”

He said clients were already choosing responsible travel projects for parts of their stays, two or three days out of an 18 day itinerary for example. “I think it will build up,” he said.

Chief executive Nick Longman said there was also growing evidence of clients choosing alternatives to air travel, such as rail.

“Lots more people are asking for rail alternatives. There are definitely people asking if they can avoid taking an international flight,” he added.

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