Published on Friday, October 16, 2009
Carbon offset option removed by responsibletravel.com
A facility for customers to offset carbon emissions is to be removed from the website of sustainable holidays travel agency responsibletravel.com.
The company was among the first travel organisations to introduce carbon offsets seven years ago, but is now one of the first to remove them for environmental reasons.
Managing director Justin Francis said: "We have thought long and hard about how we can continue to offer our customers the leading advice they expect from a responsible tourism business when it comes to the fast growing impact of flying on the environment.
"We believe that the travel industry's priority must be to reduce carbon emissions, rather than to offset.
"Too often offsets are being used by the tourism industry in developed countries to justify growth plans on the basis that money will be donated to projects in developing countries. Global reduction targets will not be met this way."
Francis said he agreed with a recent report by Friends of the Earth which labelled offsets as a 'dangerous distraction".
"Carbon offsets distract tourists from the need to reduce their emissions. They create a 'medieval pardon' for us to carry on behaving in the same way (or worse)."
The company has sought advice from Friends of the Earth to put in place a clear, alternative 'carbon caution' for travellers offering advice and tips.
Francis summarises responsibletravel.com's advice to travellers, saying: "Ultimately we need to reduce our carbon emissions. We can do this by flying less - travelling by train or taking holidays closer to home for example, and by making carbon reductions in other areas of our lifestyles too, alongside travel.
"There is no hiding the fact that tourists will continue to want to visit destinations requiring a flight, and that tourism contributes to livelihoods, local economic development and the conservation of the world's cultural and natural heritage. We will continue to offer a more responsible choice of overseas holiday so that when tourists do fly they can 'make their holiday count' by choosing a more responsible holiday."
Alongside the new advice page, responsibletravel.com aims to help responsible travellers by offering:
*More than 200 UK holidays. The UK is now the best selling destination on the website as many of its UK-based customers chose to holiday closer to home.
*The functionality to book train tickets to reach their holiday destination.
*A special section dedicated to holidays whose organisers have gone that extra mile in helping travellers choose more environmentally friendly methods of transport.
*Thousands of holidays around the world that work towards reducing their carbon footprint within destinations as much as possible.
by Phil Davies