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“Act now and make sustainable choices to save the planet for future generations” say 67% of Australian travellers: Booking.com reveals key findings from its 2019 Sustainable Travel Report

June 18, 2019 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

 Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel platforms, has released findings from its annual sustainable travel report, revealing that more than two thirds (67%) of travellers believe people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations. While results were relatively consistent across ages, almost three-quarters (74%) of 46-55 year olds globally believe most strongly that this is needed, followed by millennials (71%). The views expressed by travellers across the world are timely, considering the special report that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued in 2018, which asserts that the world has just over a decade to restrict global warming to 1.5°C  above pre-industrial levels, beyond which the risk of floods, droughts and extreme heat will significantly worsen.

 Eco-mmodation

Consistent with overall intentions to make more sustainable travel choices, sustainable stays are growing in popularity, with almost three quarters (73%) of global travellers intending to stay at least once in eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead. This is the fourth consecutive year that Booking.com research has seen this figure trend up, from 62% in 2016 to 65% in 2017, and 68% in 2018.** Locally, 55% of travellers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not.

However, when it comes to recognising a sustainable place to stay, over three quarters (80%) of Australian travellers say that they are not aware of the existence of eco-labels for vacation accommodations, while well over a third (40%) of affirm that an international standard for identifying eco-friendly accommodation would help encourage them to travel more sustainably, and 53% would feel better about staying in an accommodation if they knew it had an eco-label.

 Sustainable Struggles

Despite the best intentions, it’s not all plain sailing for would-be green travellers. The report also exposes the common barriers travellers face when making sustainable travel choices:

  % of global respondents who agree % of Australian respondents

who agree

I do not know how to make my travel more sustainable 37%

 

37%
Although I do see options to travel more sustainably, other options tend to appeal more 34% 37%
I cannot afford the extra expenditure of sustainable travel 36% 41%
My agenda constrains me in the sustainable choices I can make 34% 34%
Sustainable travel destinations appeal to me less than other destinations 34% 37%
I understand what I can do to travel more sustainably 50% 44%

 Travel companies have an important role to play here in the eyes of travellers: 68% of Australian travellers think that travel companies should offer consumers more sustainable travel choices. On the other hand, almost half (45%) acknowledge that they find it harder to make sustainable choices on while on vacation than in everyday life. Almost a third (35%) of Australian travellers admit their vacation is a special time during which they do not want to think about sustainability.

 Aspirations to Actions

Research results also indicated that travellers would be more encouraged to travel sustainably if there were economic incentives offered, such as tax breaks, when choosing eco-friendly options (42%). This is closely followed by online booking sites offering a sustainable or eco-friendly filter option (44%).

When it comes to in-destination experiences, over half (51%) of Australian travellers say they now alter behaviours to be more sustainable while traveling, such as walking, riding a bike or hiking whenever possible. Plus, 70% would like the money they spend on travel to go back into the local community. Likewise, almost three quarters (71%) of Australian travellers are seeking authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture, while two in five (42%) request that travel companies offer tips on how to be more sustainable while traveling and 44% of respondents say that if there was an option to offset the carbon footprint on their vacation accommodation, they would do it.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that Booking.com has commissioned its sustainable travel report and it’s heartening to see the sustainable travel motivations and intentions amongst travellers, though it’s clear that complex challenges continue to exist when it comes to fully realising these,” says, Pepijn Rijvers, SVP & Head of Accommodation at Booking.com. “As a global travel leader, we are continuously looking at ways we can innovate across our platform, from accommodation to experiences and transport, testing different ways to best surface information and support customers in their sustainable travel choices, as well as providing support and investment to foster innovation in the sustainable tourism space through our Booking Booster, Cares Fund and Cares Lab start-up programs. It’s important that all those in the travel ecosystem, from established companies to start-ups, destinations, accommodation, transport and attraction providers as well as travellers themselves, come together, as it’s only through collaboration that meaningful change will continue to gain momentum.”

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