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Sustainable travel weighs on the minds of vacationers

A recent survey of French vacationers by MadeinVote for Flower Campings may have revealed what a large number of travellers are secretly thinking

Published: Apr 27, 2024 08:08:18 AM IST
Updated: Apr 26, 2024 06:12:30 PM IST

Sustainable travel weighs on the minds of vacationers For 28% of travelers, vacation plans are too precious to be burdened by environmental imperatives. Image: Shutterstock

The reality of climate change and the urgent need to get away from it all without further damaging the planet are weighing heavily on the minds of many vacationers. They'd like to do the right thing, but travel seems, more than ever, to be the exception that escapes all constraints.

A recent survey of French vacationers by MadeinVote for Flower Campings may have revealed what a large number of travelers are secretly thinking -- namely that they don't want to change their vacation habits to account for environmental issues. The annual sustainable travel report from the global reservations giant, Booking.com,* supports this disconnect between the awareness of the need to take action for the planet and the way vacations are perceived. More than ever, vacation time is a way to escape the mental burden of everyday life, including the mental load of needing to take better care of the environment. Three quarters of those surveyed by Booking.com say they plan to travel in a more environmentally-friendly way over the next 12 months. At the same time, 28% of vacationers say that time spent traveling is too precious to allow them to put sustainability at the top of their decision-making list. As a result, there is a reality to the weight this subject can have on travelers and their consciences. Some 43% of vacationers planning sustainable getaways over the next 12 months admit to feeling guilty when they make choices that don't live up to this promise.

According to the survey, 45% of travelers are well aware of the importance of planning more sustainable vacations. Except that, by having the idea promoted too much without the offer of real, accessible solutions, vacationers have grown weary. 28% admit to being fed up with hearing about climate change all the time. Worse still, 33% of those questioned think that the damage caused to the Earth is already irreversible, while 25% believe that climate change is not as serious as it is made out to be.

At the same time, 44% of travelers believe that it is not up to them to adapt their behavior, but that governments are best placed to balance the economic effects of tourism. Also, 43% of the 31,000 travelers in 34 countries and territories surveyed by Booking.com believe that it is travel service providers who have the most room to maneuver to compensate for environmental factors. A not insignificant number of travelers (34%) also felt that it seems pointless to act in more sustainable ways in a destination that is not itself implementing sustainability practices.

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Fortunately, while it's obviously satisfying to see the positive repercussions of a more sustainable approach to travel, a commitment to more eco-friendly tourism can also be a lever for personal development. In other words, it can be gratifying for travelers to know that they have taken action. No less than 62% of travelers say, for example, that they feel like the best version of themselves when they make sustainable choices on vacation. What's more, when 67% witness sustainable practices during their stay, it helps them to be more sustainable in their daily lives at home.

The survey was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 31,550 people in 34 countries and territories (including 1,000 in the United States, 1,000 in Canada, 1,000 in Mexico, 1,000 in Colombia, 1,000 in Brazil, 1,000 in Argentina, 1,000 in Australia, 500 in New Zealand, 1,000 in Spain, 1,000 in Italy, 1,000 in France, 500 in Switzerland, 1,000 in the United Kingdom, 1,000 in Ireland, 1,000 in Germany, 1,000 in the Netherlands, 1,000 in Belgium, 1,000 in Denmark, 1,000 in Sweden, 950 in Croatia, 500 in the United Arab Emirates, 1,000 in India, 1,000 in China, 800 in Hong Kong, 1,000 in Thailand, 1,000 in Singapore, 1,000 in Taiwan, 1,000 in Vietnam, 1,000 in Indonesia, 1,000 in the Philippines, 1,000 in South Korea, 1,000 in Japan, 1,000 in South Africa and 300 in Kenya). To take part in the survey, respondents had to be at least 18 years old, have traveled at least 1 time in the last 12 months, be planning to travel in 2024, and have participated in organizing their trip. The survey was carried out online in February 2024.