Hotel guests will be encouraged this year to avoid creating plastic waste during their stays.
Many hotels have already started to reduce their plastic waste through measures like not using plastic straws in drinks and not selling water in plastic bottles. So hoteliers will be pleased to see that plastic is the theme for this year’s Make Holidays Greener (MHG) campaign led by ABTA in partnership with Travelife for Hotels & Accommodations.
Make Holidays Greener shines a spotlight on environmental and community issues, as well as highlighting them and associated work programmes to holidaymakers and giving them an opportunity to take part in activities. This year’s campaign will launch in the first week of June and will run until the end of August.
Make Holidays Greener offers a range of sustainable holiday pledges to holidaymakers each year, with 15 pledges available which cover all aspects of a holiday from eating local food to saying no to plastic, to switching off electrical appliances at the wall when they leave their hotel room.
Through Make Holidays Greener travel businesses, tourist boards and hotels can also take action on plastics, and a range of other issues, by making a commitment to help the environment, no matter how small. For example they can find alternatives to plastic - such as encouraging holidaymakers to take reusable bags or swapping to paper straws in drinks, organise a clean-up operation such as a beach clean or commit to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ plastics where possible.
ABTA Members and destinations have been looking at plastics as part of their wider sustainability strategy for some time – working on issues such as waste management and recycling in destination, as well as looking at the use of plastics.
Sustainable tourism is essential for the industry’s long-term viability, and plastics is one of the key environmental issues, alongside carbon and water saving. ABTA’s sustainability programme, Better Places, supports Members to adopt the best sustainability policy that works for them – offering guidance and support on how businesses can seek to address the impacts of tourism.
Another initiative is the Travelife sustainability certification scheme for hotels & accommodation, which works with travel businesses around the world to help them improve their social, economic and environmental impacts. 1,400 hotels now meet the Travelife sustainability criteria – which includes acting to minimise waste and packaging use. For example, the Dessole Malia Beach hotel in Greece has reduced the amount of plastic straws it uses by 95 per cent and introduced water coolers, cutting plastic water bottles by 75 per cent.
ABTA will be supporting the industry for Make Holidays Greener throughout the summer – providing a campaign support pack and offering advice and guidance where needed.
Nikki White, ABTA Director of Destinations and Sustainability said, “As is often the case in travel – there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to plastics and other sustainability issues. How destinations manage their waste varies significantly, so what can be recycled in one resort can’t in another. Make Holidays Greener is a great opportunity for travel companies to share best practice of what has worked, try out new approaches and get customers involved in their sustainability agenda.
“This past year has seen a tipping point in public awareness on the damage plastics can have on the environment - and businesses can use this to drive forward a change in their approach internally, as well as with suppliers and destinations.
“Almost 70% of consumers now think travel companies should ensure their holidays help the local people and economy, so we would encourage all Members to get involved with our Make Holidays Greener campaign, whether by organising a beach clean or encouraging your customers to make a sustainable holiday pledge such as saying no to plastic.”
Travel companies can contact email@example.com  to sign up to Make Holidays Greener and request a support pack.