Desire to travel sustainably on the rise, poll reveals

More than half (57%) of UK travellers have voiced a desire to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months – up 30% year-on-year, new research reveals.

Almost two-thirds (63%) want to have experiences that are representative of the local culture, and a further 55% aim to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived.

Nearly half (42%) cited that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices.

The results are part of a poll of more than 32,000 travellers from 32 nations.

The release of the findings coincided with tailor-made operator Audley Travel introducing a sustainable travel guide for agents to share with clients.

Responsible travel and sustainability manager Heather Magnussen said: “The very nature of our tailor-made trips enables clients to easily make sustainable choices.

“Agents can work with our country specialists to design an itinerary for their client that focuses on hotels and other accommodation choices with the highest sustainability credentials or utilises the most sustainable forms of transport within a destination and on excursions.”

The study found that a third (33%) of UK travellers stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year:

  • 31% said they chose it to help reduce their impact on the environment
  • Over a fifth (21%) wanted to have a more locally relevant experience
  • 24% believe sustainable properties treat the community better

Of those who did not stay in a sustainable accommodation, 27% said they didn’t know they existed and 26% said they still didn’t know how to find them.

Almost two thirds (62%) don’t actively look for the sustainability efforts of a property before they book. But they will review their decision if easily accessible, underlining the importance of making sustainability information transparent and understandable for a broad audience of travellers, according to the OTA.

A quarter of UK travellers say that the sustainability efforts of accommodation and transport providers play a strong role in their property and mode of travel decisions respectively, with 55% indicating they would be more likely to choose sustainable accommodation – whether they were looking specifically for one or not. 

Around a quarter (26%) of the total chose to travel outside of peak season and almost a fifth (19%) opted to go to a less popular destination over the last 12 months to avoid overcrowding.

When thinking about future trips, 31% said they would be willing to exclusively travel outside of peak season to avoid crowds, while 61% would avoid popular tourist destinations and attractions to ensure a more even dispersal of the impact and benefits of their visit.

Almost a quarter (22%) would be willing to choose an alternative to their preferred destination to help avoid overcrowding. head of sustainability Danielle D’Silva said: “Seeing global travellers further engage with sustainable travel and showing increasing intent to make a positive impact while they experience the world is hugely encouraging – but it’s just the start.

“We recognise the integral role our partners play in this change and investing in the right products and programs that help them communicate their efforts to an increasingly captive and mindful traveller audience is of critical importance.

“Together we can move forward on this journey, turning positive intent into more sustainable travel experiences that will drive meaningful change now and into the future.”

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