Booking.com recently released its 2022 Sustainable Travel Research Report with insights gathered from more than 30,000 travelers across 32 countries and territories, highlighting that the impact of their trips remains top of mind.
With 94 per cent of Indian travelers confirming that sustainable travel is important to them, 68 per cent cited that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices. To that end, 64 per cent of Indian travelers say that the sustainability efforts of accommodations and transport providers play a strong role in their property and transport decisions respectively. In fact, 88 per cent of Indian travelers say they would be more likely to choose a sustainable accommodation – whether they were looking specifically for one or not.
In search of more sustainable stays
Awareness and visibility of more sustainable stays continues, with 68 per cent of Indian travelers confirming they have seen a sustainable accommodation on an online travel site over the past year and 69 per cent indicating that they actively look for information on the sustainability efforts of a property before they book. Even more encouraging are the 80 per cent of Indian travelers who say they have actually stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year.
More options needed
Of those who didn’t stay in a sustainable accommodation over the past year, 29 per cent said they didn’t know they existed. While this is down 51 per cent from 2021, indicating that awareness is growing, nearly 37 per cent said they still didn’t know how to find them. 28 per cent admit that they don’t actively look for the sustainability efforts of a property before they book, but if easily accessible, they say they will review it, which further underlines the importance of making this sustainability information transparent and understandable for a broad audience of travellers.
Alternative destinations and timing
There is consensus amongst travelers on wanting to avoid busy and over-visited destinations. When thinking about future trips 42 per cent of Indian travelers said they’d be willing to exclusively travel outside of peak season to avoid overcrowding, and 64 per cent revealed that they would avoid popular tourist destinations and attractions to ensure a more even dispersal of the impact and benefits of their visit. 42 per cent would even be willing to choose an alternative to their preferred destination to help avoid overcrowding.
On the flip side, 55 per cent of Indian travelers struggle to find appealing destinations that are less crowded and 44 per cent feel like it’s not possible to find sustainable travel options in cities or other popular tourist destinations. This indicates an opportunity for travel platforms to work with accommodation providers in these destinations to help them progress on their sustainability journeys and in turn to highlight more sustainable options, as well as to help consumers discover alternate times and places to take their trips, without sacrificing on experience.
Connection to culture and local communities
A regenerative philosophy is influencing decision-making, with 56 per cent of Indian travelers saying they want to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived and 69 per cent Indian travelers wanting to have experiences that are representative of the local culture. In fact, 35 per cent say they have actively familiarized themselves with the local cultural values and traditions at their travel destination in advance of their trips and 39 per cent would be willing to pay more for travel activities to ensure they are giving back to local communities .
Tipping point for transportation
Indian travelers are mindful of how far they travel, how they get there, and how they get around once they’re there. 31 per cent Indian travelers say they chose to travel to a destination closer to home to reduce their carbon footprint and 31 per cent indicated that they researched public transport and/or options to rent a bicycle in their chosen destination. 39 per cent also chose to travel by train instead of the car for longer distances and 43 per cent say they feel ashamed to fly because of its impact on the environment. When it comes to booking transportation for their trips, 73 per cent actively look for sustainability information.