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Consumer Survey: Travelers Environmentally Aware, Want Industry to Offer Options

Travelers worldwide are aware of their impact on the environment but also expect the travel industry to provide attractive sustainable travel options, a recent Global Consumer Survey (GCS) carried out by Statista in collaboration with ITB Berlin found.

At the same time, however climate change appears to have limited effect on people’s desire to travel with trips abroad still very high demand.

The poll, which included some 60,000 people per country in over 55 countries, found that climate change does influence travel behavior. In Germany alone, 65 percent of all tourists said environmental and climate protection were very important and more than 77 percent consider human activity as being the main cause of climate change. 

According to the findings, sustainability must become part of a general mindset and sustainable tour operators can be part of the solution. 

Key takeaways for the German market:

-48 percent of German travelers said avoiding waste is important on their holidays

-40 percent said saving resources such as energy and water is important

-39 percent would like local staff to be fairly paid

-a high percentage of travelers thinks independent certification is important 

-more than 40 percent of those polled were willing to book a trip with a sustainable tour operator, and around 36 percent were even willing to pay a premium for booking with one

-92 percent of travelers in Germany demand that policymakers and tour operators introduce measures for more eco-friendly holidays

– referring to what they would change in their travel behavior, the majority said “avoiding (long-haul) flights”

-24 percent of German travelers said environmental reasons had recently motivated them to change their foreign travel plans while 70 percent are still planning a trip this year 

-deciding not to travel at all for reasons to do with sustainability is rare: of the Germans not planning to travel in 2022, 6 percent said they were doing so to protect the environment 

– in Germany, banning private planes tops the list of measures to slash the environmental impact of travel and tourism.

At the same time, for travelers in the US and UK, certification of eco-friendly resorts and providing information on a trip’s carbon footprint are major factors. 

Overall, tourists in all countries studied are unanimous that more research must be carried out and investments made in eco-friendlier transport options.

Indicatively, according to UNEP, transport is responsible for three-quarters of global CO2 emissions resulting from tourism: air transport accounted for 40 percent and car use for 32 percent while ‘friendlier’ means of transport like trains and buses account for a mere 3 percent of these emissions. 

“Every step towards sustainability counts. Even an all-inclusive resort can be run responsibly and sustainably if it has a proper waste and water management system, uses renewable energy and offers local produce, and if the employees are from the region – however, the management must support these measures,” said Rika Jean-François, CSR commissioner for ITB Berlin

“Nowadays, customers no longer have a binary choice between ‘low-cost’ and ’ethically correct’ travel, as more and more operators are including sustainability in their product portfolio without raising prices. This is an investment in the future.”

ITB Berlin, Germany’s leading travel trade show, will take place as a live event in March 2023, its organizer Messe Berlin announced in early June.

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