Published on : Wednesday, December 27, 2017
According to Mark Tanzer, chief executive of the Association of British Travel Agents, the popularity of Blue Planet will lead to an increase in eco-holidays. Tanzer, predicted that the popular BBC nature series will enthuse more tourists to visit new destinations as they become aware of the negative impact of overcrowding.
Over-tourism has become an alarming issue in popular locations such as Barcelona, Venice, Palma and Santorini, with protests by residents, which often turned out to be violent.
ABTA research shows that more than one in four holidaymakers is planning to visit a country that they have not been before in 2018, and almost a third expects to go to a new resort or city.
ABTA expects that responsible tourism will be a key trend next year, with more initiatives such as social enterprises contributing to communities, carbon-neutral group tours and the banning of plastics from beaches.
Welfare of animals has also become a major issue for travel companies. Thomas Cook has committed to exclude excursions such as elephant rides and swimming with dolphins from their activities, while Virgin Holidays announced that it will no longer promote new attractions or hotels featuring captive whales or dolphins.
Mr. Tanzer said, “Although household budgets are under pressure, the underlying demand for travel remains strong as savvy British holidaymakers are planning ahead and seeking the best value holidays and destinations. While value for money will certainly influence many people’s holiday choices, others will also reflect on the impact their holiday has on local people and the community. Popular TV programmes like Blue Planet II have put sustainability issues firmly in the spotlight, increasing awareness of the impact that large numbers of visitors can have on some of the world’s most popular destinations. We expect these factors to inform people’s choices about where and how they holiday next year, with a greater demand for holidays to a wide range of alternative destinations.”
The BBC programme dedicated the last episode of its most recent series toward the effect of humans on the oceans, in particular the effect of large amounts of discarded plastic. Among the animals featured in the series were a hawksbill turtle caught in a plastic sack and a pilot whale calf possibly poisoned by plastic in the ocean.
Presenter Sir David Attenborough ended the show with a direct appeal to viewers.
“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us,” Attenborough said.