Blue Planet II prompting travellers to explore alternative holidays

Venice, Santorini, Barcelona and Palma are suffering from 'over tourism'
Venice, Santorini, Barcelona and Palma are suffering from 'over tourism'
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TV show Blue Planet II is expected to lead to a spike in demand for sustainable and alternative holidays in 2018, the boss of travel trade organisation Abta has said.

Chief executive Mark Tanzer predicted that the popular BBC nature series will encourage more tourists to visit new destinations as they become aware of the negative impact of overcrowding.

So-called over-tourism has become an issue in popular locations such as Barcelona, Venice, Palma and Santorini, with protests by residents.

Research by Abta shows that more than one in four (27%) holidaymakers are planning to visit a country they have not been to before in 2018, and almost a third (32%) expect to go to a new resort or city.

Some 70% of people believe travel companies should ensure their holidays help the local people and economy.

Abta is anticipating that responsible tourism will be a key trend next year, with more initiatives such as social enterprises contributing to communities, carbon-neutral group tours and the banning of plastics from beaches.

The welfare of animals has also become a mainstream issue for travel companies.

Thomas Cook has committed to removing excursions such as elephant rides and swimming with dolphins from their activities, while Virgin Holidays announced it will no longer promote new attractions or hotels featuring captive whales or dolphins.

Analysts GfK recently reported that overall holiday bookings for next summer are 5% above last year as people try to obtain the largest discounts.

Mr Tanzer said: "Although household budgets are under pressure, the underlying demand for travel remains strong as savvy British holidaymakers are planning ahead and seeking the best value holidays and destinations.

"While value for money will certainly influence many people's holiday choices, others will also reflect on the impact their holiday has on local people and the community.

"Popular TV programmes like Blue Planet II have put sustainability issues firmly in the spotlight, increasing awareness of the impact that large numbers of visitors can have on some of the world's most popular destinations.

"We expect these factors to inform people's choices about where and how they holiday next year, with a greater demand for holidays to a wide range of alternative destinations."