Christmas Tales: Green Channel

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British holiday-makers may be famous for being lager-louts and not speaking any language except English, but it seems we are in fact "green" and caring, despite our sometimes brash image.

The tour operator British Airways Holidays has found that 87 per cent of their customers would prefer to travel to a destination with a good environmental record. This is backed up by research carried out by the airline British Airways, which revealed that 65 per cent of leisure travellers consider waste pollution and quality of the environment an important issue on holiday. In fact, 53 per cent said that they would choose the airline or tour operator that took environmental issues into account.

Holiday makers are also concerned about social issues, according to the pressure group Tourism Concern. Their survey revealed that visitors are extremely concerned when they learn that people are often evicted from their land or homes for tourism development to occur in developing countries. Ninety eight per cent of people questioned felt this was something that should definitely be brought to public attention, and that tour operators do have a responsibility to do something about such occurrences.

Many tour operators who are aware of this increase in consumer-awareness are joining the CERTification scheme, organised by the Centre for Responsible Tourism, which now has 30 tour operators as members. Cert has a kite-mark scheme for tour operators that have committed themselves to make and implement environmental and social policies. Tourists rate their tour operator after their trip on a series of points, and the tour operators donate pounds 1 per client to Cert.

Cert (0181-761 1910); Tourism Concern (0171-753 3330)