Sustainable starts with your stay

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AMSTERDAM 19 April 2018: The trend to travel green continues to grow as more global travellers say they want to book sustainable travel products.

That’s one of the outcomes of the latest Booking.com, global Sustainable Travel Report.

Findings suggested that 87% of travellers surveyed said they wanted to travel sustainably, and nearly four in 10 (39%) confirming that they often, or always, manage to do so.

However, 48% indicated they never, rarely or only sometimes, manage to travel sustainably.

Booking.com concluded that this suggested that while promising strides were being made for a greener future, there was still plenty of room to turn intentions into action.

The report stated that sustainable travel starts where you stay, but noted that it was subjective term that held different connotations for different people.

However, for almost half of travellers (46%), ‘sustainable travel’ meant staying in an eco-friendly or green accommodation.

The top reasons travellers gave for choosing eco-friendly places was 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 travellers intend to stay in an eco-accommodation in 2018, reassuringly up from 65% in 2017 and 62% in 2016.

Additionally, the percentage of travellers who have not considered eco-friendly stays because they were unaware of their existence continues to decline, resting at 31% this year, compared to 39% and 38% in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Eco-inspiration

When it comes to what inspires people to travel more sustainably, it appears that travel itself is the biggest motivator.

Six in 10 (60%) travellers indicated that they found the impressive natural attractions 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 % global travelers who found this inspiring
Being impressed by natural attractions during their own travels (eg 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%

 

Overcoming eco-barriers

While perceived extra cost remains the top barrier for travellers wanting to travel more sustainably, two thirds (67%) said they would be willing to spend at least 5% more on their travel to ensure it was as low impact on the environment as possible.

Indian travellers claimed 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 travellers claimed it was 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 – travelling sustainably would be too time consuming 22%
Destination – travelling 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, travellers are still looking for ways to more easily fulfil ambitions. 40% said online booking sites offering a sustainable or eco-friendly filter option would help, while 32% continue to call for an international standard for identifying eco-friendly accommodations.

As part of its commitment to improving ways to uncover and share the sustainability efforts of its own accommodation partners, Booking.com is partnering with organisations like Green Key, an internationally recognised eco-label with strict award criteria that honours positive environmental management, to highlight Green Key awarded properties as ‘sustainable’ on its site.

It’s good to go green

Proving too that sustainability measures don’t need to come at an inconvenience, many global travellers indicated they engage in sustainable travel behaviour 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%