This Saturday 22 April, is Earth Day, reason enough to think about sustainable travel options. In a year that the United Nations has designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, new research commissioned by global booking engine Booking.com points to some promising signs in travel booking trends.
The number of travellers staying in an eco-friendly or ‘green’ accommodation at least once looks like it will double this year with 65% of global travellers expressing this intention versus 34% who stayed in one or more last year. In addition, 68% confirm they are more likely to consider choosing an accommodation knowing that it was eco-friendly, with Chinese (93%), Brazilian (83%) and Spanish (80%) travellers the most likely.
79% of people surveyed said sustainable considerations impacted their mode of transport when travelling, with 43% taking public transport whenever possible, 42% trying to walk, bike or hike as much as possible and nearly one fifth (18%) flying less to reduce their carbon footprint.
When it comes to making luxury adjustments in order to stay somewhere eco-friendly, the vast majority of travellers would be more than happy to accept these, with 94% willing to stay in a property with energy saving lightbulbs and 80% in one with low flow showerheads. Below is an overview of the luxury adjustments global travellers would be willing to make to stay at an eco-friendly accommodation:
- AC/heating units that only run while you are in the room 89%
- Low flow showerheads 80%
- Recycled toilet paper 79%
- Less frequent toiletry replacement 79%
- Linen and towel changes less frequently 75%
- Higher cost for food because its’ all locally produced 64%
The term ‘sustainable travel’ continues to mean many things to many people, but the role of accommodations in helping travellers to achieve their sustainable travel goals is clear. The research shows that over half (56%) consider staying in eco-friendly accommodation as sustainable travel, topping the list of what travellers think when they hear the term. For well over a third, it means conserving water by reusing towels and bed sheets (38%) and conserving the environment by reducing use of amenity goods such as shampoo, soap, toothbrush, razor (35%).
For many, sustainable travel is also synonymous with a more authentic, local experience. 38% perceive the buying of locally-made products and supporting local artisans as sustainable travel, while 36% would choose an eco-friendly accommodation because it provides a more locally-relevant experience.
Top 5 reasons global travellers choose eco-friendly accommodation:
- To help reduce environmental impact 52%
- They provide a more locally-relevant experience 36%
- They treat the local community better 31%
- They tend to provide more locally-sourced/organic food 30%
“Just as where we stay on holiday plays a pivotal role in the enjoyment of our trip, so it also plays an increasingly important role in helping people to travel sustainably,” said Pepijn Rijvers, chief marketing officer at Booking.com.
“Whether by serving locally grown food, using or selling local crafts, conserving water and energy, recycling or connecting guests with the local community, accommodations today are working on a range of sustainability efforts and it’s heartening to see travellers so keen to explore and embrace these.”
Top 5 most important green/eco-friendly practices when considering a property to stay in:
- Solar energy 67%
- Sustainable water system 43%
- Low-flow showers/toilets 36%
- Organic restaurants/food options 31%
- Recycling baskets in room 29%