So now that we know what sustainable tourism is, let’s take a look at the why.
From bushfires to floods and damaging storms, we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of climate change. This has been a wake-up call for everyone, from individuals to whole industries. And like other sectors of the economy, the travel industry needs to do its part.
But are our guests on board? Do they consider sustainability when they book a holiday? Evidence suggests that they do – increasingly so.
A study by Expedia of travellers from 11 countries shows that guests are well and truly considering issues of sustainability when selecting a travel destination and experience. They report a staggering 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when travelling.
And furthermore, guests understand that supporting local communities is part of sustainable tourism – that is, they have a nuanced understanding of what sustainability means, as explained in my first post.
Here is how guests from the Expedia study define sustainable travel:
- 69% lessening environmental impact
- 66% supporting local economies
- 65% supporting local cultures and communities
While travelling in the previous two years:
- 3 out of 5 opted for environmentally friendly transport or stays
- 7 out of 10 avoided travel to a destination or transport option whose claims about sustainability they were sceptical about.
And their future travel intentions? Sixty-five percent said that they would like to opt for environmentally friendly transport or lodgings on their next trip.
However, many people find the process of starting to be a more sustainable traveller overwhelming and are looking for more information on sustainability from providers and listing platforms.
This is where the Hosting with Heart website can help make decisions easier for future guests. Survey participants indicated the preferred source of information on sustainable travel was listings or information on travel websites.
So our future guests are making decisions on sustainability and include supporting local communities as part of sustainability, but our guests are also aware of the dangers of ‘greenwashing’. The Expedia study emphasises the need for hosts to provide clear information and to be authentic in their environmental claims. And the reward (beyond being a responsible host), is that Expedia reports guests are willing to pay more for sustainable travel options.