We have all heard the saying “been there, done that, got the t-shirt”, but it seems many travellers are taking far more than an “I love Spain” t-shirt home from their holidays abroad.
A recent survey by The Travel Foundation and The Association of British Travel Agents, released in time to coincide with ‘Make Holidays Greener Month’, has revealed that British travellers spend up to 10% of their holiday budget on souvenirs, but that many unwittingly take home souvenirs that are either illegal or environmentally damaging.
The holiday shopping report highlights confusion amongst travellers about what is an illegal souvenir and what is not, and with a shocking eleven per cent believing it was okay to bring Ivory back from holiday (internationally banned in 1990), it seems the government and the responsible tourism sector has a lot of work to do.
While most travellers said they have good intentions and buy their holiday souvenirs from local markets and craft stalls, many of these items are mass-produced on the other side of the world, and do not benefit the local community as one might think.
Fifteen per cent of those questioned in the survey admitted to bringing a shell or piece of coral back from a holiday abroad, yet a third confirmed they no longer displayed the piece, and many said they had already thrown it away.
T-Shirts and fake designer goods remain the most popular holiday souvenirs, but they are also those items most likely to be discarded or binned within weeks of return, so the Travel Foundation urges responsible travellers to “look out for quality crafts and check to see where the item is made and what it’s made from” before making a purchase.
If in doubt, stick to a Sombrero, a pair of maracas, or a nice fridge magnet!