From cities to caravan parks: The tourism venues putting the environment first

There’s a growing awareness within the tourism industry of the need to green up its act.

The impact of mass travel on the planet is regularly highlighted by environmental campaigners. And this is starting to have an effect on consumer behaviour.

According to JWT Intelligence’s The Future 100: 2020 report released this week, the year will see ten key trends unfold in travel.

Key among them are ‘biocontributive travel’ – working towards zero impact travel – and coupling luxury travel with environmental research expeditions.

One of the UK’s biggest tourism institutions, the National Trust, has pledged to change in the light of climate change. It is marking its 125th anniversary with a series of environmental pledges, including a commitment to become carbon net zero by 2030.

All around the world you can find thoughtful responses from travel destinations keen not only to mitigate damage but actually put something back, in what’s known as environmental gain. Here are four very different examples.

1. Gothenburg

Gothenburg is setting the bar high. The Swedish city has been named the world’s most sustainable destination by the Global Destination Sustainability Index. And it has since won the sustainability category in the European Smart Tourism Awards 2020. Nearly all of its hotels are environmentally certified, and its pioneering ‘event impact calculator’ forecasts potential environmental impacts and supports organisers to value events from an economic, social and environmental perspective.

2. Clayton Caravan Park

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The park near St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, is always looking to improve the local environment. Staff have planted pollinator-friendly flowers, from grassland clover to nectar-bearing blooms in whisky barrels, encouraging butterflies and bees. And its management of a ten-acre woodland has also won praise – and an gold David Bellamy Conservation Award.

3. Bucuti Beach Resort

The Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort looks like something out of a dream holiday video, with its white sands and swaying palm trees. But it is more than a taste of Caribbean luxury. In 2019 it won the Climate Action Award at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards thanks to a range of actions which made it the first Caribbean resort to become carbon neutral.

4. The Bulungula Lodge

This remarkable destination proves you don’t have to be at the high end of holiday luxury to go green. Found on the Wild Coast of South Africa, the backpackers lodge is sustainable in every way. Fully powered by the sun, the venue’s water comes from its own borehole and ‘the virtually odourless compost toilets are the most colourful in Africa’. More than that though, Bulungula is owned by the villagers – so it ‘sustains local culture and the planet’.

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Photograph (top): Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

Photograph (bottom): Visit Scotland

What we do

Qa Research undertakes a wide range of research, insight and evaluation studies for tourism organisations including visitor attractions, destination marketing / management organisations , trade bodies and associations as well as national parks, AONB’s and conservation charities.

Core topic areas include visitor satisfaction studies, new concept / product demand testing, pre and post advertising research and evaluation, membership insight, business barometer surveys, potential visitor perceptions, new brand development and brand refinement research and much more.

Find out more about the work we’ve done within the tourism sector by contacting Kathrin Tennstedt on