Byway and First Choice partner as 42% of UK holidaymakers seek alternatives to flying to minimise carbon footprints
LONDON – Flight-free travel company Byway, dedicated to making sustainable travel simple, has partnered with leading UK holiday operator First Choice, who announced a major relaunch of its online platform. The partnership with Byway makes First Choice the first mainstream travel brand to offer dynamic train, boat and bus holidays online and reflects a growing* demand for environmentally-friendly travel, as new research reveals that 42% of UK holidaymakers are seeking alternatives to flying to reduce their carbon footprints. For London-based holidaymakers that’s 56%, and it’s 61% for Gen Z.
The research is from Byway and based on a survey of 2,000 UK holidaymakers conducted by OnePoll**. These newly-published research results show a growing need for flight-free travel:
- Flight-free holiday appetite is significant and climate is almost always the reason: 43% of UK holidaymakers would rather take a train, ferry or bus than fly and 42% of UK holidaymakers want flight-free alternatives specifically to reduce their carbon footprints.
- Younger generations are most likely to try flight-free in 2023: UK Gen Z travellers are over three times more likely than average to choose flight-free for the first time in 2023 (28% vs 8%), and those aged 25-34 are more than twice as likely (17%).
- Hassle and disruption are major concerns, resolved by Byway for First Choice customers: 27% of UK holidaymakers yet to try flight-free worry about hassle; 25% about disruption. Byway books all travel and accommodation, and includes free disruption replanning.
- Twice as many chose flight free for the experience as for the environment: 38% of those who’d travelled flight free enjoyed seeing more of the places travelled through while 19% did so because it was more environmentally friendly.
The partnership provides the sustainable option travellers are asking for:
- Taking down the barriers: First Choice offers flight-free holidays through Byway, which sorts travel and accommodation and financially protects the holiday as a package via ABTA.
- Highlighting the benefits: First Choice shows travellers flight-free options when searching for plane-based holidays, which inspires consideration from a new customer segment.
- Leading the change: First Choice is ushering in a new norm, where flying and choosing not to are presented on equal footing.
- Helping flight-free go mainstream: The partnership’s scale signals a new era for the travel industry: one focused on prioritising eco-conscious, low-carbon options for travellers.
“I founded Byway with the mission of making flight-free travel mainstream. For decades, choosing flight-free meant choosing masses of organisation. Byway exists to make booking train, boat and bus-based holidays just as easy as flight-based packages. We’re thrilled to be partnering with First Choice because it accelerates progress towards our mission, giving more people overland options and making the joy of the journey much more visible. We hope First Choice’s bold move will inspire many more travel brands to follow its lead.” says Cat Jones, Founder and CEO, Byway.
“For First Choice, it’s about helping people pick the trip they really want, and sometimes that means introducing our customers to something they might not have considered before. Our partnership with Byway means that customers can now travel flight-free by train or bus or boat, experiencing new ways to journey as well as new destinations.” said Bart Quinton-Smith, Managing Director, First Choice.
*Versus a McKinsey survey from 2022 reporting that 36% of travellers plan to fly less.
**Based on survey of 2000 UK respondents who have travelled for leisure in the past two years, conducted by OnePoll 24-30 August, 2023.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.