Impact awakening: the rise of responsible travel

Future of travel

The coronavirus may have halted our 2020 travel plans (or any plans full-stop) but it has also given some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations a much-needed moment of rest. The world watched from home as videos were shared online of wildlife returning to city streets where crowds once flocked. This pause in our globetrotting habits has inspired hopeful travellers to become more aware of the wider impact of their trips, with 53% to start looking for more sustainable ways to travel; to reduce their footprint on the environment and local communities.

Unfollowing the crowd

Those planning to travel in 2021 have expressed a wish to avoid other tourists, with a spike in interest in exploring lesser-known destinations in the year ahead. Many travellers will also opt for alternative destinations for a number of other reasons; to avoid travelling during peak season (51%), overcrowding (48%) and overly busy tourist attractions (63%).

Putting a stop to plastic

Since the pandemic struck, travellers are also increasingly thinking twice about their consumption and waste while on holiday. More than half (53%) of global travellers are willing to reduce their waste and recycle their plastic when travelling, once all restrictions are lifted.

Slide 1 - I want to travel more sustainably because the Coronavirus has opened my eyes to humans’ impact on the environment
Slide 2 - I expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options
Global shaded in red

Off-season incentives

As of this year, global travellers (69%) are looking to the travel industry to help support the growing interest in sustainable travel. And that includes looking specifically for off-season travel packages (46%) and travel suggestions to alternative destinations to help prevent overcrowding (36%).

Supporting local communities

Global travellers are aware of their impact more than ever before, which will pave the way for more sustainable and regenerative travel in the future. Two-thirds (67%) of travellers indicated that they want their travel choices to support the recovery of destinations they visit and more than half (55%) want to see how their spending will go back into supporting the local community.

Test yourself

Can you remember how travellers are becoming more eco and community conscious amidst the pandemic? Take the quiz below.

*Research commissioned by and conducted among a sample of adults who have traveled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted). In total 20,934 respondents across 28 countries were polled (including from 999 USA, 496 from Canada, 497 from Mexico, 997 from Colombia, 999 from Brazil, 499 from Argentina, 995 from Australia, 499 from New Zealand, 999 from Spain, 996 from Italy, 996 from France, 999 from UK, 996 from Germany, 498 from Netherlands, 499 from Denmark, 499 from Sweden, 498 from Croatia, 1001 from Russia, 498 from Israel, 997 from India, 994 from China, 499 from Hong Kong, 497 from Thailand, 496 from Singapore, 499 from Taiwan, 997 from South Korea, 500 from Vietnam and 995 from Japan). Respondents completed an online survey in July 2020.
†Based on the share of filter users who used the “pet friendly” filter, comparing the average use of the filter across 2019.
‡Based on endorsements left on as part of post-stay reviews. Insight based on endorsements that saw the biggest increase in monthly usage between 1st April 2020 and 11th September 2020, compared to the average monthly endorsements between January 2019 and February 2020.
§Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of 50,688 respondents across 29 markets. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in November 2019.

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