The Rise of Alternative Holidays

We’ve indulged in holidays for centuries, and we can’t get enough of it. Whether we’re holidaying across the UK or taking a trip abroad, we always look forward to our shortbreak away from work. However, did you know that a lot of wealthy Romans took holidays that lasted two years?

Unfortunately, the majority of us do not have holidays that last two years, but we do tend to enjoy ourselves when we book a trip abroad. So much so, the Office for National Statistics reported that in 2017 there were 72.8 million visits overseas by UK residents, showing a 3% increase on the previous year. This figure is only set to increase even further after a survey of 25,000 British travelers found that 11% of respondents would like to travel more in the future.

With new trends taking over, many people are searching for alternative holidays. But what does that actually mean for holidaymakers, local communities and businesses across the globe?

What are the options?

More people than ever before a looking for sustainable trips away, with Google searches around this term (and similar ones) increasing in the past few months. Along with veganism, flexitarianism and other lifestyle choices, these types of holidayshave captured the public’s attention and will likely become the norm for future generations who will be more environmentally conscious. 

There have been reports to say that almost 90% of travelers want to travel in the eco-friendliest way possible. With such high figures, it’s clear that this is a market more businesses in the hospitality and travel market should be tapping into. You could argue that sustainable travel is subject to a person’s environmental standpoint, and while this is true, the same report also revealed that 46% of people believe sustainable travel is staying in an eco-friendly or green accommodation. 

But why are travelers choosing places like this? It was revealed that 40% of people said that they wanted to reduce their environmental impact. On the other hand, 34% said this was to have a locally relevant experience and a further 33% said they wanted to feel good about where they rested. 

However, this did differ by traveler. 60% said that this idea sparked from taking in the natural sights from their previous trips – such as coral and rain forests. Also, 54% said that they had noticed the visible impact tourism had on places that they themselves had visited, while 47% went on to say that their decision was after seeing the positive impact sustainable tourism had on local communities. Furthermore, 32% said they felt guilty about how their holidays impact the environment.

Regular holidays are becoming extremely cheap, which is why many people wonder whether ‘sustainable holidays’ are affordable. As these trips tend to require fine planning and research, they could potentially be more costly than your average trip to Spain. However, 67% of travellers in the report said that they were prepared to spend up to 5% more on their travel to ensure it had a low impact on the environment.  

Figures from the same survey found that four in 10 people say that booking sites should offer an eco-friendly filter. Although this doesn’t seem like a step a lot of travel sites are taking, some have began adding pages to represent these trips and advertise them publicly. As well as this, 32% of people call for an international standard that can identify eco-friendly accommodation.

If travel companies and hotels acknowledge this growing requirement from travelers now, it could keep them ahead of the competition. Hopefully, 2019 will be the year where we see more sustainable trips!

Are there initiatives that can be joined?

Although they’re not on everyone’s radar at the moment, fair trade holidays offer learning experiences like no other. Fair trade holidays are available for travelers — have you heard of the Meet the People Tours? Holidaymakers can integrate themselves into the communities who are behind the products we frequently buy — this can include our much-loved fair trade coffee

These tours are all about love, appreciation and a willingness to learn more. People who sign up will be able to touch down in the likes of India and Nepal! Just like the fair trade products we buy, these trips are organised so that the people living and working in these communities are better off as a result. 

You’ll gain a lot from this trip. From visiting development projects and having your ideas of developing countries challenged, you’ll truly feel that you’re making a difference from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave.

You’ll never take a ‘traditional’ holiday again, you’ll be constantly looking at new communities you can become a part of and learn more.

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