Finns not overly eco-friendly in their holiday choices
Price, sunshine and the pistes count for more than emissions
Price, the interesting nature of the destination, and the prospects of sunshine or good skiing weigh most heavily in the balance when Finns are choosing where to go for their vacations.
The environmental burden caused by the trip, for example in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, comes right at the bottom of the list.
This is one of the findings of a study carried out in mid-December by Suomen Gallup on behalf of the Matka 2009 Nordic Travel Fair, which will be held in the Fair Centre in Helsinki next weekend (January 15-19).
This year's fair has as its theme "Our World - Our Responsibility"
Around 1,200 Finns took part in the survey, which was to determine just how responsible people are in their choices of holiday and how they travel.
The Finns showed that they are distinctly human and frail in this respect.
They were perfectly prepared to tick the boxes on matters such as not littering while away from home or behaving with due consideration for the local population, but when it comes to things that actually require compromise or a sacrifice - particularly when being environmentally responsible is going to hurt them in the wallet - their enthusiasm for eco-travelling wanes rapidly.
At the top of the list in making a decision on where to go for a vacation came "the usual suspects" of interesting location, price, hotel location and category, sunshine or good skiing, the local price level, and scope for hobbies and shopping, and only then came such items as supporting local businesses, the environmental certification of the hotel, or the emissions generated by getting to the destination.
Equally, when asked about how they would seek to lighten their ecological footprint, it was matters at the lighter end of the scale that found support.
Already such things as saving water, travelling in Finland rather than going abroad, making one trip of longer duration rather than several shorter ones, or paying more for eco-friendly alternatives found relatively little support, not to mention making a voluntary trade-off payment for carbon dioxide emissions caused or paying considerably more for an environmentally-friendly alternative.
There were naturally differences between sections of the population, with young people, students, and women showing a greater willingness to pay for a more environmentally sustainable holiday.
One in ten of those polled said they would be prepared to pay a voluntary carbon offset for the emissions caused by their trip.
"Responsible travelling" is primarily associated in Finnish minds with environmental considerations. One in three respondents saw the matter in the light of social and cultural issues - getting to know local customs and respecting them. Around 25% could not define the concept at all.
Last year, Finns went on nearly one million package holiday trips abroad.
The most popular destination countries were Spain (& the Canaries), Greece, and Thailand.
More than half of the Finns plan to spend a holiday abroad this year, and the bulk of them, more than 90%, also intend to vacation in Finland itself.