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Guiding China’s travel to a sustainable path

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KUALA LUMPUR, 17 March 2023: Chinese travellers are engaged about their environmental impact and are starting to seek sustainable alternatives, claims a study commissioned by travel giant Trip.com, Accor and consulting firm McKinsley & Company.

But the report found that Chinese travellers may need more help understanding where to look. Trip.com Group found that 85% of Chinese travellers rate travel sustainability as important or very important, while 60% are concerned about climate change.

(From left to right): Jean-Jacques Morin, Group Deputy CEO, Accor; Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, Accor; Gary Rosen, CEO, Accor Greater China; Ray Chen, SVP of Trip.com Group; Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group; Li Binghua, Division Director, Market Management Office, Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism; Jonathan Woetzel, Director of McKinsey Global Institute, Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company; Steve Saxon, Partner of McKinsey & Company.

The report noted that Chinese consumers are not used to paying extra for sustainable travel. As such, it is essential to provide travellers guidance regarding sustainability costs, highlighting the industries’ efforts to improve the provision of sustainable offerings. This will increase willingness to pay by showing the burden to be shared, and that price rises will only be short-term.

The pioneering survey published Thursday identifies a series of sustainable changes that need to be made to support the travel and hospitality of tomorrow.

Entitled “The path toward eco-friendly travel in China”, the whitepaper provides guidelines on the actions that travellers can take to travel sustainably.

It points to booking sustainable travel options with certified service providers, spending more time in one destination, and cultivating sustainable habits such as changing towels or bed linen less frequently and refusing to use single-use plastics.

The whitepaper sets out suggestions for the hospitality industry to support Chinese travellers in their understanding of sustainable travel, inspire behavioural change and ultimately support the sector’s journey towards a net positive model, which gives more than it takes. Such recommendations include using technology platforms to make sustainable travel options more visible online, using labelling to ensure travellers are informed on the environmental impact of their actions, providing incentives to encourage sustainable behaviour, and training employees to adopt a sustainability mindset.

While greater traveller awareness and willingness to choose sustainable options combined with tourism providers’ adoption of more sustainable practices can help China’s travel sector realize “quick wins” in sustainable impact.

Trip.com Group CEO Jane Sun said: “We are thrilled to be leading the charge for sustainable travel and promoting responsible tourism practices in the industry. Our commitment to harmonious coexistence between people and nature has driven us to implement green and environmental protection practices, such as our ‘Green Tourism Goals’, which has already reached millions of global tourists. By collaborating with strategic partners, we aim to integrate green and environmental protection’s social and commercial value, creating new business growth opportunities for partners. We aim to pave the way for a more sustainable and responsible travel industry.”

Download “The path toward eco-friendly travel in China” – joint research in travel sustainability in China HERE.

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