Greener travel ‘now mainstream’ in holiday consideration, survey suggests

As many as three in five (61%) UK travellers now factor in sustainability as a consideration when planning holidays, new research suggests.

The survey of more than 2,000 holidaymakers asked how they address the climate emergency in the context of overseas travel. 

Overall, eco-friendly sentiments were most pronounced among younger travellers, with about a quarter (26%) aged 25-34 citing it as their top priority when travelling.

The InsureandGo study found that 18% of the total rated sustainability as the cornerstone of their holiday planning, making it their top priority. Additionally, 43% said they were taking small steps towards greener travel.

Among those who take one holiday a year, 27% said sustainability was their top priority. 

In contrast, among those who go on multiple overseas holidays each year, 16% prioritised sustainability, while the bulk (57%) said they consider it but would not give up the holiday they really wanted in the name of sustainability.

Due to the cost of living crisis, the proportion of people distracted by other concerns when considering sustainable travel was 27%. This was particularly the case for older travellers (32% of over 55s).

The survey also looked at the importance that travellers placed on the sustainability practices of companies involved in their holidays. 

While not yet a deal-breaker for the majority, the results showed that more than a quarter felt it was ‘extremely important’ (rating it 9 or 10 on a scale of 10) for their airline (26%) or hotel (26%) to support sustainable practices. 

This was double the proportion who found these issues ‘not important at all’ (13% and 12%, respectively, rating it 1 or 2 out of 10).

The importance of sustainability was also relatively high for companies providing self-catered accommodation, car rental and travel insurance – 19%, 19% and 21% respectively, view these as ‘extremely important’.

Company chief executive Chris Rolland said:  “Our research is another indication of the strong demand for greener travel options. 

“Customers are open to options that minimise their impact on the environment, while still enjoying their holidays. 

“Over 60% of travellers are now conscious of their ecological footprint, a sign that sustainability in travel is now mainstream. Importantly, the number of travellers prioritising sustainability – whether as a central focus or through small steps – points to a significant future customer base.

“What is also interesting from the research is the expectations customers have on all parties involved in providing their holiday. 

“This issue is going from being a nice-to-have to a must-have for many, and it is up to the industry to meet these expectations.”

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