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New research shows that Brit's responsible behaviour is being left at home when we travel

Explore creates a pledge for its travellers, staff and overseas partners after findings show a gap between our actions at home and abroad. 

Key Findings

  • Brits are 50% less likely to recycle abroad than when at home
  • Visiting the zoo, taking an elephant safari and swimming with dolphins are popular holiday activities, yet 75% acknowledge these activities are not responsible
  • 37% expect their towels and sheets changed regularly on holiday
  • British travellers rank price (67%) and location (72%) as very important when booking a holiday abroad. 20% consider the trip’s environmental impact to be of equal importance.

London, UK, Wednesday 7th February 2018: Adventure travel specialist Explore has announced today the findings of a study* into Brits’ behaviour when travelling overseas. With conversations about issues like plastic use and energy consumption intensifying, responsible tourism is a hotter topic than ever. And, while our habits at home are increasingly being adapted to conserve energy and minimise waste, it seems that these habits are being neglected once we’re on holiday.

We’re 50% Less Likely to Recycle on Holiday
While most people (77%) frequently recycle at home, only 38% do so when on holiday. We’re also 60% less likely to reuse towels for more than a day or two, or to turn off lights and appliances when we’re abroad.  
Explore consciously strikes to reduce wastage and minimise environmental impact via its small group trips. The company’s new Responsible Tourism Pledge asks customers and staff to travel with a reusable water bottle, to reuse towels and sheets and turn off lights and water when not in use; just like at home. Explore strives to minimise single-use plastics, both at its UK office and on all of its trips.

We’re Not Always ‘Keeping it Local’
28% of those surveyed prefer a British guide on holiday. But it’s by travelling with a local leader that visitors can get under the skin of a destination and better understand the place they’re visiting. Explore trips include local hotels and homestays, and recommend local restaurants, meaning a more authentic experience for the traveller and direct economic benefit for the communities visited. Win-win.

We Love Our Wildlife – Even Out of its Natural Environment
30% of surveyed tourists would enjoy a zoo visit to see wildlife; 23% would take an elephant safari and 28% would like to swim with dolphins.
Explore is raising awareness of the dangers of visiting animals in unnatural environments. The company works hard to ensure the wildlife we love is preserved – by visiting sanctuaries, where important conservation work is done, rather than zoos and banning elephant rides. The company works closely with wildlife charities to promote education and conservation, which always go hand in hand. And of course, anywhere that sells shark fin soup or ivory is absolutely off limits.

John Telfer, Managing Director, Explore comments: “Unfortunately this research of the broader British travelling public shows that our second-nature behaviours at home aren’t always translating to our holidays, and that there’s still a real lack of understanding about which activities and behaviours could be considered unethical or not sustainable.  We’re used to turning lights off, using recyclable bottles and reusing towels when we’re at home; why does this all go out the window on holiday?
As a tour operator, Explore has a responsibility to tackle these issues, and we take a public stand against activities like elephant rides and visits to schools and orphanages. It is crucial to us that we and our customers are always welcome back in the destinations we visit, and we strive to make sure that holidaymakers and locals get the maximum benefit from our trips.  
Crucially, travels need to be enjoyable, fun and fulfilling in order to be sustainable. In travelling with local guides, visiting local restaurants and hotels, you’re having a more real, more authentic experience of the places you’re visiting. The fact that you’re also putting money into the heart of the community you’re visiting is a fortunate by-product. We always want to be welcomed back to the places we visit.”
Explore has created a 12-point Pledge, outlining a few little tips for travellers to minimise any negative impact on the destination they visiting, and to ensure they’re always welcome back.

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