More travellers open to flight-free and rail holidays than a decade ago, poll reveals

One in four people are more open to taking flight-free or rail holidays than a decade ago, a new poll shows.

A survey of more than 2,000 holidaymakers exploring the types of sustainable holidays they are now more inclined to consider compared to 10 years ago, found that 77% are more likely to consider an eco-friendly holiday than in 2013.

Among people who had made significant lifestyle changes at home to be more sustainable, this figure rose to 91%, according to the study by InsureandGo.

However, even among those who said they were taking small steps or admitted to making no efforts to change their home lifestyle, the figures were still 81% and 55%, respectively.

A significant proportion of respondents were more open to considering a flight-free holiday (24%) or travelling by rail (23%) compared to a decade ago. 

While this trend was popular across different age groups, older travellers were more inclined to consider these options than younger ones. 

Specifically, 24% and 27% of those over 65 were inclined toward a flight-free holiday or travelling by rail, respectively, compared to 20% and 19% of those under 25. 

Even among travellers who typically take several overseas trips each year, 19% expressed a greater openness to flight-free holidays, and 22% to travelling by train.

There was also a spike in the proportion of holiday bookers under 40 who would be open to a holiday that involves volunteering (14%). This trend peaked among travellers under 25, where the percentage reached 19%.

Previous research from InsureandGo found that three in five (61%) UK travellers now factor in sustainability as a consideration when planning their holidays.

Walking and hiking holidays are seen as sustainable options for more than a third (35%) of respondents – particularly among those who tended to take domestic holidays and among the most eco-minded respondents (47%).

Other popular holidays included glamping, cycling and e-biking, while one in five were more likely to consider barge or canal boat holidays than before.

Company chief executive Chris Rolland said: “The last couple of years have seen a rapid shift in mindset among British travellers. No longer is this a niche interest, it has become an increasingly important factor for customers of all ages and backgrounds. 

“Just in the last ten years, we’ve seen the majority of customers become more open to eco-friendly holidays. This is a mindset across all demographics, with a strong proportion of those over 50 prepared to make significant alterations to how they travel in order to do their bit. All signs point towards this being an enduring and substantial trend that is here to stay.

“As demand and expectation for eco-friendly and sustainable experiences rise, the industry will need to respond and adapt. The recent UNWTO meeting’s focus on green investment within the industry signals the direction of things for the next 10 years and beyond. For the long-term outlook of the industry, it is important that we don’t lose this momentum.”

Types of sustainable holidays people are more inclined to consider now compared to 10 years ago:

  •   Walking/hiking 35%
  •   Camping/glamping 29%
  •   Flight-free 24%
  •   Rail 23%
  •   Cycling 20%
  •   Barge/canal 20%
  •   Wellness 18%
  •   Wildlife/safari 18%
  •   E-biking 15%
  •   Agritourism – staying on a farm that produces its own food 15%
  •   Sailing 11%
  •   Sports (golf/tennis) 10%
  •   Volunteer travel 10%
  •   I would not be more inclined to consider a different type of holiday to be more sustainable 23%

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