By Martin Kelly, Travel Trends

MEDIA attention on global warming could hurt Australian travel businesses, the Tourism Forecasting Committee warns.

“Current media attention could have negative repercussions for the Australian tourism industry,” the TFC says in its latest report.

“European tourists in particular are under increasing pressure from activist groups to consider the impact of long haul travel on the environment.”

The report says many carbon offset schemes “lack transparency” and are “largely voluntary and unregulated” resulting in wild price variations for the same product.

It says there also appears to be consumer concern over what happens with the money: ie will the dollars I spend now have a meaningful impact in the future?

“Product credibility will have a lot to do with bringing consumers on board,” the report says.

At the moment corporate environmental policies are thought to account for bulks of offset credits for airlines, particularly on corporate routes.

Aviation’s share of total greenhouse emissions is estimated at 2-3%; Virgin Blue, Qantas, Jetstar and their codeshare partners operate Greenhouse Friendly voluntary carbon offset programs.

STA Travel and Intrepid have also signed up to the scheme, while motorists can use a Transurban product called Greenpath.

Jetstar says 10% of its passengers are opting to pay the levy.

Travel Trends: December 17, 2007

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