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Comment: Customers are increasingly looking for sustainable options

YouGov data journalist Hoang Nguyen assesses trends emerging from the firm’s latest research

As we move away from the fallout of Covid-19, the consumer demand and urgency for sustainability in travel will be a key area of focus for many travel brands and marketers.

The travel industry offers consumers a new lens into how other people and cultures live and will play a pivotal role in bringing sustainable experiences to prospective travellers given its popularity.

The latest research from YouGov’s Global Travel Profiles – which tracks perceptions toward travel and monitors travel demand in 25 markets – shows that in May, 21% of global respondents said they intend to go on an international holiday in the next 12 months.

Travel brands and destination marketing organisations may consider balancing this strong demand for travel with sustainable travel practices to help reduce the potential negative outcomes of visitor growth and overconsumption.

It’s a good thing, then, that many consumers recognise their role in achieving responsible tourism and a more sustainable future. A separate study from YouGov reveals that 53% of global consumers say they will look for sustainable travel options while travelling, rising to 72% among people looking to travel within the next 12 months.

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What’s also encouraging is that some consumers seem ready to shell out money to back up their intention to travel sustainably. A slim majority of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for a sustainable holiday (53%).

We looked at the different ways people would want to contribute to responsible tourism and among those who would pay more for sustainable travel, one in two seek out authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture (50%).

A near equal share of people who would pay more for sustainable travel say they would stay in eco-friendly or green accommodations (48%) and more than two in five say they would prioritise spending money with local businesses (45%).

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Reducing carbon emissions is lower on this audience’s list but still factors for a significant share of consumers who would spend more to achieve sustainable travel. A quarter of this group say they look for ways to offset the carbon footprint of their holiday (25%) and 24% say they would prioritise booking a flight with lower CO2 emissions.

There is demand for sustainable travel options and even a willingness to pay more for them with more and more people stopping and thinking about the world we live in and how we can protect it.

Ever-growing interest in travelling sustainably unites travellers with the brands that make their holiday dreams possible.

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