Spread the love

Bernina-Express Railway, Graubünden, SwitzerlandToday, Booking.com releases new research, with insights gathered from more than 31,000 travellers across 34 countries and territories including 1,000 from Australia, exploring the latest consumer attitudes and priorities related to sustainable travel. While the annual research reveals a continued sense of desire and awareness, with 77% of Aussie travellers confirming that sustainable travel is important to them, new insights show a sense of weariness could be emerging, fueled by the ongoing challenges travellers experience to make sustainable travel choices.

The research shows that over half  of Aussie travellers (54%) feel travelling more sustainably is important, but not a primary consideration when planning or booking a trip, and 34% of travellers even report they are tired of hearing about climate change all the time. With this in mind, the opportunity for collective action is more pertinent than ever to ensure that progress towards a more sustainable travel industry remains a priority.

“Whilst many Australian travellers have retained a sense of optimism and a desire to have a more positive impact, there is a critical opportunity for the industry to accelerate efforts to make those choices easier for everyone,” says Todd Lacey, Regional Manager of Booking.com in Oceania. 

“Regardless of where they are on their sustainability journey be it booking a hotel, holiday home, rental car, flight or attraction on Booking.com, we want to empower Aussie travellers to explore the world more responsibly by enabling them to make choices that reduce their environmental footprint without compromises. To support this, we have an opportunity to collaboratively accelerate efforts to make those choices easier for all while putting sustainability at the forefront of the way we travel.”

Travel Sustainable Lifestyle 01

Pregnant mother making braids in her daughters hair while the toddler sister plays on her own

Positive intentions meet new challenges

The research also reveals a sense of weariness when it comes to sustainable travel. Some travellers don’t recognise the importance of being more mindful of their impact, with one-quarter (25%) believing that the damage already done is irreversible and that the travel choices they make will not make a difference. Alarmingly, a quarter (26%) of Aussie travellers don’t believe climate change is as severe as people make it out to be.

Nearly a third (30%) believe that being more sustainable in a destination that is not implementing sustainability practices itself feels pointless, contributing to the sense of powerlessness.  Moreover, some feel their time spent travelling is too precious to put sustainability at the top of their decision-making list (26%), showing that there is work to be done in shifting local mindsets that choosing the more sustainable offer should not come at the cost of enjoyment.

Reassuringly, 64% of Aussie travellers say that they want to travel more sustainably over the next 12 months. When it comes to motivators among those who want to travel more sustainably, 34% would feel guilty when they make less sustainable travel choices and 42% want to do so because they believe it’s the right thing to do.

Sharing responsibility across the travel industry

The role travellers feel they can play in tackling the negative impacts of travel also highlights their expectations around collaboration. A noteworthy 71% of travellers say they want to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived (up from 68% last year), and this year’s additional research shows 50% think they themselves have the potential to counteract the social impacts of travel. On the other hand, 47% think governments hold the most potential for countering the economic effects, and 40% believe travel service providers hold the key to addressing environmental factors.

Responsibilities extend to how consumers are being supported to fulfil their intentions. Coming across an accommodation labelled as more sustainable is more appealing to almost half of travellers (45%) and consistency of certification standards is critical to identifying these options with 67% agreeing that all travel booking sites should use the same sustainable certifications or labels.

Sustainable silver linings

Despite the emerging frustrations, Australians who make more mindful choices also feel that more sustainable travel experiences add value to their trips. Over half of Australians (54%) admit they are the best version of themselves when they travel more sustainably, with another 62% feeling that witnessing sustainable practices when travelling inspires them to be more sustainable in their everyday life.

Of those who adopted sustainable behaviours on their travels, it was seen as an enhancement for 97% who did tours or activities for authentic, local, and cultural experiences, 92% who shopped at small, independent stores, and 91% who planned their trips so that they could walk, bike, or take public transport.