Over half (55%) of global travellers report being more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago, but barriers such as the lack of a recognisable standard and affordability concerns are preventing some of them from putting this into practice.
Findings from Booking.com’s annual sustainable travel report reveals that almost three quarters (72%) of travellers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations.
While results were relatively consistent across ages, almost three-quarters (74%) of 46-55 year olds believe most strongly that this is needed, followed by millennials at 71%.
Consistent with overall intentions to make more sustainable travel choices, sustainable stays are growing in popularity, with almost three quarters (73%) of global travelers intending to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Booking.com research has seen this figure trend up, from 62% in 2016 to 65% in 2017, and 68% in 2018. Additionally, 70% of global travellers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not.
However, when it comes to recognising a sustainable place to stay, almost three quarters (72%) of global travellers say that they are not aware of the existence of eco-labels for vacation accommodations, while well over a third (37%) affirm that an international standard for identifying eco-friendly accommodation would help encourage them to travel more sustainably, and 62% would feel better about staying in an accommodation if they knew it had an eco-label.
In addition, 37% of respondents indicate they do not know how to make their travel more sustainable. About 34% acknowledge there are sustainable options, but find other options more appealing. Moreover, 36% say they cannot afford the extra spending that comes with sustainable travel, while 34% feel constrained by their agenda.
Booking.com finds 71% of travellers think that travel companies should offer consumers more sustainable choices. On the other hand, almost half (46%) of global travelers acknowledge that they find it harder to make sustainable choices on while on vacation than in everyday life. Almost a third (31%) of global travelers admit their vacation is a special time during which they do not want to think about sustainability.
Research results also indicated that travellers would be more encouraged to travel sustainably if there were economic incentives offered, such as tax breaks, when choosing eco-friendly options (46%). This is closely followed by online booking sites offering a sustainable or eco-friendly filter option (45%).
When it comes to in-destination experiences, over half (52%) of global travellers say they now alter behaviours to be more sustainable while traveling, such as walking, riding a bike or hiking whenever possible. Plus, 68% would like the money they spend on travel to go back into the local community.
Likewise, almost three quarters (72%) of global travellers are seeking authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture, while two in five (41%) request that travel companies offer tips on how to be more sustainable while traveling and 56% of respondents say that if there was an option to offset the carbon footprint on their vacation accommodation, they would do it.
Pepijn Rijvers, senior vice president & head of accommodation at Booking.com, shared that the company is testing different ways to surface information and support customers in their sustainable travel choices, as well as providing support and investment to foster innovation in the sustainable tourism space through our Booking Booster, Cares Fund and Cares Lab start-up programmes.
“It’s important that all those in the travel ecosystem, from established companies to start-ups, destinations, accommodation, transport and attraction providers as well as travellers themselves, come together, as it’s only through collaboration that meaningful change will continue to gain momentum.”