Brits Going Green

Millions preparing to ditch air travel this summer

Camilla may have rebelled against Prince Charles's green campaign by taking a private plane to go on holiday to Greece*, but millions of Brits are preparing to ditch air travel this summer and go green.

A week before May bank holiday airport madness kicks off another summer holiday season, new research by AA Personal Loans gives the first indication of the possible carbon backlash on holiday travel plans this summer and points towards a welcome boom to the UK tourism industry.

The probe of more than 2,600 Britons by AA Personal Loans explored the impact of the climate change debate on UK holiday plans for the summer.

Key findings: Driving Holidays

More than one in five British holiday makers claim they are now more likely to plan a holiday by car this summer as a result of the environmental impact of flying. UK tourism will benefit the most from changed holiday plans – 20 per cent of Brits are planning a UK break whilst 11 per cent intend going on a driving holiday to Europe.

Only 48 per cent of people plan to maintain plans for short haul flights to Europe, whilst 3 per cent said the carbon footprint debate had led them to cancel holiday plans completely.

The Scots are leading the rebirth in UK car holidays (25%), whilst people in the South West are at one with the Duchess of Cornwall – holding firm on plans to fly to Europe, just one in ten (11%) saying that they are more likely to consider a holiday in the UK.

Changing car demand

The research also shows that the boom in popularity of camping and caravan holidays** may be impacting demand in the car buying market;

  • One in five (21%) considering a driving holiday to Europe is looking to purchase a more comfortable car for motorway journeys in the next 12 months, demand for comfortable cars for long journeys increasing from 13 to 20 per cent in the last year;
  • One in five (20%) planning a driving holiday in the UK is looking to buy a more environmentally friendly car in the next year; and
  • Diesel cars are significantly more popular than petrol vehicles amongst potential caravan-holidaymakers this summer (35% compared to 27%), reflecting the environmental and economic benefits of a diesel engine.

Lloyd East, Director of AA Personal Loans said, "AA Deals on Wheels reports have shown a consistent increase in the demand for more environmentally friendly vehicles over the last year. This research further exemplifies the changes people are making to their car purchase and travel plans in order to decrease their carbon footprint. It is encouraging news that Britons are following Prince Charles' example and thinking twice before taking short haul flights which can have significant impacts on the environment."

Footnotes and notes to editors

* Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 16th May 2007

** Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday 4th July 2006

Research for AA Personal Loans was carried out by YouGov amongst a GB representative sample of 2,687 in May 2007.

To book comment and interviews and for information on additional research findings contact:

Ian Crowder, AA press office, 01256 492 844 or [email protected]


17 May 2007