A recent survey conducted by Booking.com reveals that the pandemic is influencing consumers’ views on sustainability and how they will travel in the future. The online survey of nearly 30,000 people in 30 countries and territories indicates that 46% say the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future.
And since Booking’s first sustainable tourism study in 2016, the percentage of travelers who intend to stay at a sustainable establishment once in the next year has increased from 62% in 2016 to 81% in 2021.
The findings of Booking.com’s annual sustainable tourism report are even more compelling this year as the tourism industry looks to rebuild itself in the wake of the pandemic. Our research reveals how this travel hiatus has opened travelers’ eyes to the impact, both negative and positive, of their travel on ecosystems and local communities around the worldMarianne Gybels, director of sustainability at Booking.com
Top concerns include excessive waste such as single-use plastic (43%), threats to animal life and natural habitats (38%), popular destinations with too many people (34%), and carbon dioxide emissions (22%).
The report found a gap between what travelers want and expect, and what accommodation providers are doing. While 61 percent of travelers say they would be more likely to choose a place to stay if it implemented sustainability practices, about 40 percent say there aren’t enough sustainability options and they don’t know how to find them when planning a trip.
In April, Booking surveyed 3,400 accommodations in 20 countries and found that while about three-quarters have implemented some sustainable practices at their properties, less than a third (31%) have communicated these to potential guests, and most wait to do so at check-in.
A small change like eliminating single-use plastics or switching to energy-efficient LED light bulbs might seem insignificant in isolation, but multiplied by millions of travelers and properties around the world, these small steps all start to add up to a much bigger potential positive impactMarianne Gybels, director of sustainability at Booking.com
To help boost the visibility of more sustainable stay options, since the start of this year, Booking is displaying sustainability certifications on property pages. The certifications are sourced directly from the certifying organizations, such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, as well as multiple hotel chain sustainability programs.
Currently more than 5,600 properties globally listed on Booking.com have at least one certification visible, and thousands more properties are sharing their sustainability efforts in banners that appear on their property pages.