Stats: 87% of Travelers Want to Travel Sustainably

Green city made of leaves
Photo by Petmal/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A large majority of global travelers – 87 percent – say that they want to travel sustainably, according to the new Sustainable Travel Report released by Booking.com in honor of Earth Day on April 22. Nearly four in 10 (39%) confirm that they often or always manage to do so; however, 48 percent indicate they never, rarely or only sometimes manage to travel sustainably, suggesting that while promising strides are being made for a greener future, there is still plenty of room to turn intentions into action, Booking.com said.

“Sustainable travel” is a subjective term that has different connotations for different people, Booking.com said. However, for almost half of travelers (46%), “sustainable travel” means staying in eco-friendly or green accommodations, topping the list of what people think of when hearing the term. The top reasons travelers give for choosing these eco-friendly places to rest their heads are to help reduce environmental impact (40%), to have a locally relevant experience (34%) and wanting to feel good about an accommodation choice (33%).

Looking ahead, more than two-thirds (68%) of travelers intend to stay in an eco-accommodation in 2018, up from 65 percent in 2017 and 62 percent in 2016. Additionally, the percentage of travelers who have not considered eco-friendly stays because they were unaware of their existence continues to decline, resting at 31 percent this year, compared to 39 percent and 38 percent in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

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When it comes to what inspires people to travel more sustainably, it seems that travel itself is the biggest motivator. Six in ten (60%) travelers indicated that they found the impressive natural sights visited on past travels as their inspiration to travel more sustainably, while more than half (54%) said seeing the visible impact that tourism can have on destinations serves as their inspiration.

The factors that inspire sustainable travel % of global travelers who found this inspiring

Being impressed by natural sights during their own travels (e.g. coral reefs, rain forest)

60%
Noticing a visible impact of tourism at the destinations they have visited 54%
Seeing the positive effect that sustainable tourism can have on the local people 47%
Seeing the unsustainable effects of tourism in their home country 42%
Feeling guilty about the impact their vacation has had on the environment 32%

While perceived extra cost remains the top barrier for travelers wanting to travel more sustainably, two thirds (67%) of travelers would be willing to spend at least 5 percent more on their travel to ensure it was as low impact on the environment as possible. Indian travelers claim to be the most willing, with nearly a third (32%) declaring that they would pay 15% or more, followed by Brazilians (21%) and Chinese (18%).

The research also indicates that a lack of information and a lack of credible certification poses a significant obstacle to sustainable travel (32%), particularly in India, China and Japan, where travelers cited this as even more of a barrier than extra cost.

Top global obstacles to traveling more sustainably
Costs – not being able to afford the extra expenditure 42%
Information / lack of certification – not knowing how to make my travel more sustainable 32%
Time – traveling sustainably would be too time consuming 22%
Destination – traveling sustainably would limit travel to less appealing destinations 22%
Luxury / comfort – sustainable travel does not meet the level of luxury / comfort accustomed to 20%

As sustainable travel intentions grow, travelers are still looking for ways to more easily fulfill these ambitions. 40 percent said that online booking sites offering a sustainable or eco-friendly filter option would help, while 32 percent continue to call for an international standard for identifying eco-friendly accommodations.

Many global travelers also indicated they engage in sustainable travel behavior because the activity itself adds a positive vacation experience to their trip.

Sustainable vacation activities that add to vacation enjoyment Percentage of global travelers who do this
Buying locally made products instead of mass-produced tourist souvenirs 53%
Being adventurous and using public transport instead of a taxi 52%
Going out of the way to find a local restaurant that only uses local ingredients 41%
Skipping tourist highlights in favor of less busy and often more rewarding sights 40%
Opting for a unique place to stay that also a certified eco-accommodation over a traditional hotel 30%

The report is based on research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 12,134 respondents were surveyed across 12 markets (1000+ from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US). Respondents completed an online survey in February and March 2018.

Source: Booking.com

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