A majority of travellers willing to sacrifice some element of convenience to travel more sustainably

11 May, 2022

New research from Expedia Group Media Solutions has found that a high majority of travellers are now looking for sustainable options when booking with a majority also willing to sacrifice some element of convenience to travel more sustainably. However, a similar level still feel overwhelmed with navigating options and making the best choices to be a more sustainable traveller, highlighting that the travel and tourism industries are still failing to deliver on their promises.  

The findings are based on a study conducted in partnership with Wakefield Research, which included an online survey of 11,000 representative, general population adults ages 18+ in 11 global markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and U.S. – during Feb-2022 and Mar-2022.

Nine in ten consumers now look for sustainable options when booking travel

The survey revealed that 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when booking, albeit 70% feel overwhelmed with navigating options and making the best choices to be a more sustainable traveller.

What do consumers see as part of sustainable travel?

Notably, nearly 70% of consumers are willing to sacrifice some element of convenience in order to travel more sustainably, while nearly three in four travellers would also choose a destination, lodging, or transportation option that supports the local community and culture, even if it was more expensive.

Sustainability needs to be at the heart of travel brand strategy

The research clearly shows that travellers want to know that travel brands are committed to sustainability, not just checking a box and travel brands now need to make sustainable travel information easier to understand and show the value and impact of responsible travel choices.

Consumers are already trying to make meaningful decisions and want to make more in the future

The findings revealed that half of travellers want to see more sustainability information from destinations, tourism boards, or visitor resource groups. Recommendations for locally owned businesses and restaurants ​and transportation options that have lower environmental impact is the leading type of sustainable travel information consumers want to see when planning a trip.

Waking-up to sustainability

The only good news for airlines reduced flight schedules during the Covid-19 pandemic is in reducing emissions they have been helping save the planet. Aviation emissions remain an explosive issue for the airline industry and the mountain to climb has become even taller than it was before COVID.

So far, the airlines’ responses have been uncoordinated, contradictory, often evasive greenwashing, completely lacking in transparency – and they leave the industry a sitting target for unwelcome attacks.

Looking ahead to 2030, there is very little in practical terms the industry can do to reduce overall emissions, whether carbon or others. Even with the most optimistic outlook, the use of fossil fuels cannot be reduced significantly until the next decade. In short, everything environment-related is about added costs, hardly a welcome prospect at such a fragile time. And there is no way to avoid them.

The following video shares observations of some of the industry’s most senior executives from the sidelines of the CAPA Airline Leader Summit - 'Airlines in Transition 2022’ on the subject.