The specialist holiday company Holidaybreak is planning to make carbon offsetting against flights compulsory for all its customers and is calling on other major tour operators to follow its lead.

Carl Michel, the chief executive, said it is the "responsibility of tour operators to instigate changes in holidaymakers' behaviour". The company's adventure holiday division, Explore, currently has an option on its website for customers to choose carbon offsetting when booking their holiday at a cost of around £40 for a long-haul flight. But Mr Michel, who was formerly responsible for marketing and strategy at British Airways, said the intention was to make carbon offsetting a fixed part of the price.

"More and more people are feeling guilty about flying and it is inevitable that this will lead to widespread changes in the way we think of holidays," Mr Michel said. "The idea of a weekend trip to Vienna to go shopping, which was unthinkable twenty years ago due to the cost, will again become a thing of the past. The travel industry is going to have to recognise that there will be more societal changes taking place and they will have to adapt their products accordingly."

Thanks to the rise of the low-cost, no-frills carrier, the rise in the price of a holiday or a weekend break has been out of all proportion to that of other goods over the past five years, he said. "There is a need for rebalancing," he added.


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