One of the key lessons we’ve learnt from the coronavirus pandemic is that when people stop travelling overseas, our planet starts to heal. And though fear of catching and spreading Covid-19 is considered by many to be why the trend to stay within our own borders will continue, the main reason might actually be our increased environmental awareness.
The young are eco-conscious
According to a recent survey, a third of people want to be more eco-conscious on their holidays, being prepared to spend 16 per cent more on green accommodation. These figures increase to 41 per cent and 25 per cent respectively for 18-24-year-olds, showing that young people are leading the way on eco-travel.
Staycations (holidaying in your own country) are a great way to achieve this, cutting out air travel that’s thought to create two per cent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions. The term comes from the US, becoming popular during the 2008 recession as a way to enjoy a holiday while sticking to a tight budget. In recent years the environment has played a far greater role in keeping people at home, as have the issues of overcrowding in the big overseas tourist attractions, such as Venice and Barcelona, and of inadvertently exploiting local people.
The UK is hard to beat
Here in the UK, the staycation has reminded us that we live in a beautiful country with so much variety to explore. We have beaches to rival any in Europe; a wealth of history; beautiful wild mountain ranges in the likes of North Wales, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands; and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to city breaks, like the beautiful town of Cambridge.
People are discovering more and more significant advantages to staying on our own island. No three-hour waits at the airport for starters, no check-in queues, no visas to worry about, no language barriers, no having to take your dog to the kennel. The travel can be just a couple of hours each way, rather than an entire day at the start and the end of a holiday abroad. An overseas trip, with all that goes with it, can actually make you feel more stressed than you were before, which is why the tide has turned.
Plenty of eco-friendly options
The combination of remaining in the UK and being increasingly eco-conscious inevitably leads to staycationers seeking out the most environmentally-friendly options. They’ll look for travel experts who recognise their ecological responsibilities, and will want to stay at eco-friendly accommodation that looks after the environment. More and more places to stay are boasting of being off-grid and powered by wind turbines and solar panels, showing there’s an increased thirst for an ethical stay such as this.
It’s true that the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our lifestyles. But there’s a growing passion to protect the environment, combined with an increased awareness of the ecological effects of overseas holidays, and this might change the way we travel for the long term.