The number of travelers staying in an eco-friendly accommodation at least once could double this year, according to a new study from Booking.com. The organization released the findings from its global Sustainable Travel Report to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.
65 percent of global travelers expressed their intention to stay in an eco-friendly accommodation at least once this year in the report, Booking.com said, versus 34 percent who stayed in one or more in 2016.
In addition, 68 percent confirm they are more likely to consider choosing an accommodation knowing that it was eco-friendly, with Chinese (93%), Brazilian (83%) and Spanish (80%) travelers the most likely. For a large 79 percent, sustainable considerations also impact their mode of transport when traveling, with 43 percent taking public transport whenever possible, 42 percent trying to walk, bike or hike as much as possible and nearly one fifth (18%) flying less to reduce their carbon footprint.
When it comes to making luxury adjustments in order to stay somewhere eco-friendly, the vast majority of global travelers would be more than happy to accept these, with 94 percent willing to stay in a property with energy saving lightbulbs, 89 percent in one with AC/Heating units that only run while you’re in the room and 80 percent in one with low flow showerheads.
The term ‘sustainable travel’ continues to mean many things to many people, but the role of accommodations in helping travelers to achieve their sustainable travel goals is clear. The research shows that over half (56%) consider staying in eco-friendly accommodation as sustainable travel, topping the list of what travelers think when they hear the term. For well over a third, it means conserving water by reusing towels and bed sheets (38%) and conserving the environment by reducing use of amenity goods such as shampoo, soap, toothbrush, shaving razor (35%).
For many, sustainable travel is also synonymous with a more authentic, local experience. 38 percent perceive the buying of locally-made products and supporting local artisans as sustainable travel, while 36 percent would choose an eco-friendly accommodation because it provides a more locally-relevant experience.
Even though only 5 percent of global travelers actually believe it is easy to travel sustainably, 46% of globally travelers consider themselves a sustainable traveler, with Italy, Germany and China seeing a rise in those identifying this way since last year but in markets like Australia, Brazil, Japan and the U.S. there has been a fall (down 5%, 8%, 4% and 4% respectively).