Industries in Depth

Survey of travellers finds 76% want more sustainable options

A person sitting in an airport.

Over 40% of people are willing to pay a little more to support certified sustainable travel options. Image: Pexels/JESHOOTS.COM

Paige Bennett
Writer, EcoWatch
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Travel and Tourism

  • More than three-quarters of people want to make their holiday travel sustainable, according to Booking.com's 2023 Sustainable Travel Report.
  • However, 49% of those surveyed said sustainable travel options are too expensive, especially given the rising cost of living.
  • Other barriers to sustainable travel include a perceived lack of options and uncertainty over where to search for holidays that promote environmental stewardship and support local communities.

A new travel report from Booking.com found that 76% of respondents hope to embrace sustainable travel plans over the next year. The survey also found that many travelers are looking into more ways to reduce their impacts while traveling, from reusing linens to turning off the AC in their hotels and other accommodations.

In the 2023 Sustainable Travel Report, which collected responses from over 33,000 travelers around the world, Booking.com found that a vast majority of those who travel are looking to do so in a more sustainable manner. Around 76% of respondents want to travel sustainably over the next 12 months.

But costs are also influencing travel decisions, according to the report. About half of respondents believed they would see worsening impacts of climate change over the next six months, and 64% of respondents believe the cost of living crisis will also worsen during that time. Many respondents (76%) noted that rising costs and the global energy crisis are impacting their budgets, and 49% of those surveyed said sustainable travel options are too expensive.

Some travelers (43%) are willing to pay a little more, though, to support certified sustainable travel options. As many as 74% of respondents said that traveling more sustainably in general is important to them.

Have you read?

The report highlights the stresses of rising costs and climate change on people around the world.

“While travel may be back, rising living costs and climate anxiety has led to greater demand for more budget and planet-friendly options,” Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com, said in a statement. “Travel can be a force for good and travelers themselves are proving to be today’s changemakers, adopting more sustainable travel habits and seeking responsible experiences.”

Further, the report noted other barriers to sustainable travel, including a perceived lack in sustainable travel options and an uncertainty in where to search for travel options that promote environmental stewardship and support local communities. Respondents also showed some distrust in the validity of sustainable claims and credentials.

For many travelers, minimizing their impact in any way possible has been important. The number of travelers who turn off the AC and appliances at their accommodations or reuse the same towels has increased compared to the 2022 report. Over half of respondents (55%) travel with their own reusable water bottle.

But one of the biggest issues with travel is transit. Tourism accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is expected to increase. According to Booking.com’s report, about 43% of travelers plan their vacations to be able to walk, ride bikes or ride local public transit. Still, there’s more to be done concerning one of the biggest sources of emissions: aviation.

“Ultimately, building a truly sustainable industry will take time, but progress is underway to ensure that it’s becoming easier for everyone to experience the world in a more mindful and responsible way,” the report authors wrote.

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Industries in DepthClimate ActionNature and Biodiversity
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