Park Royal on Pickering

Sustainable tourism becomes a priority for 72% of global travellers

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As one of the biggest topical issues for the industry, sustainability remains a priority for accommodation providers, big and small. But do consumers care? We explore the findings from’s 2019 sustainable travel report

A new report from* has found that almost three quarters of travellers (72%) believe people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations, and over half (55%) were more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago.

Interestingly, the results found that 46-55 year olds were marginally more engaged (74% vs 71%) with this ambition than millennials, a demographic typically associated with purpose-driven travel.

An integral part of the broader travel experience, accommodations have been addressing sustainability for some time now and concurrently 73% of travellers intend to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation in 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year that research has seen growth in this area, from 62% in 2016 to 65% in 2017, and 68% in 2018.**

Additionally, 70% of global 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. Whether it’s as simple as sourcing chemical-free products for your property or establishing systems that tackle food waste or water consumption, considering ways that you can operate in a more eco-friendly and sustainable manner - and communicating those to your guests - will help tap into this demand.

70% of global 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.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that 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 “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.”

The interest in sustainability also extends beyond accommodation. Over half (52%) of respondents change behaviours to be more sustainable while travelling, such as walking, riding a bike or hiking whenever possible. The impact on the destination’s community is front of mind too: 68% would like the money they spend on travel to go back into the local area. According to the UNWTO, of each US$100 spent on vacation by a tourist from a developed country, only around US$5 currently stays in a developing destination’s economy.

Authentic experiences are increasingly being sought, with almost three quarters (72%) of global travellers looking for experiences that reflect the native culture. The knowledge of a host is integral to this and recommending hidden gems that will both satisfy this interest while encouraging visitors away from areas already overburdened by tourism is a great way to engage in sustainable practises.

*Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 18,077 respondents were surveyed across 18 markets (1000+ from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, UK, USA. In Israel 883 respondents were surveyed). Respondents completed an online survey in February and March 2019 ** Although this year’s survey covers 6 additional markets, the figure is still up to 72% if we only consider the markets from last year’s survey.


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  • Almost three quarters (72%) of global travellers believe sustainable travel choices should be a priority
  • Interest in eco-friendly or green accommodations is growing, with 73% of travellers hoping to stay at least once in such a property
  • Sustainable experiences are similarly sought after with 68% of travellers wanting to see the money they spend go back into the local community