ABTA launches green scheme for travellers on the Web

The Association of British Travel Agents has launched its first approved carbon offsetting programme for the travel industry.

The web-based initiative, reducemyfootprint.travel, has been developed by ABTA and has the backing of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AiTO). It will be operated by Carbon Offsets.

Reduce My Footprint aims to support offsetting projects that are relevant to the travel industry. The consumer-facing site was launched yesterday at ABTA’s annual industry convention in Tenerife.

ABTA head of consumer affairs Keith Richards says that the idea is not to absolve travellers of guilt, but to raise awareness of how they can reduce their impact on the environment, and to offset what cannot be reduced.

He adds that the scheme was developed by the industry, destinations and scientists.

Derek Moore, AiTO chairman says: “Many consumers want to act responsibly when they travel, but feel confused as to which schemes they should support. It is a major step forward to offer them this scheme. It has been heartening to see the ideas of the supervisory board come together on this one site.”

Half the proceeds will be spent on Government approved schemes, certified under the Kyoto Protocol. Some 30% will go to the Travel Foundation, a UK charity that promotes sustainable tourism and the final 20% will be spent on Verified Emission Reduction projects.

Meanwhile, Sustainable travel charity The Travel Foundation, has launched an online training system for travel agents to help frontline staff improve their understanding of sustainable tourism. The tool has been developed with ABTA.

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