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Green Travel on the rise

Posted by Barbara Janse van Rensburg on 07 December 2018 3:50 PM CAT
Barbara Janse van Rensburg photo

The findings below date back 6 years and the trend is on the rise. 


•    20% of respondents said they would consider an "eco-tourism" trip but 17% said they were unfamiliar with such trips.
•    Nearly a third of travellers (30%) would choose a destination because it was considered eco-friendly
•    60% of travellers said they rarely felt informed about whether hotels were truly eco-friendly, and 13% said they never did.
•    Half of the travellers surveyed would spend more money to stay in eco-friendly accommodation.
•    75% said the economic landscape did not affect their interest in eco-friendly travel choices.
•    24% had considered a voluntourism trip and 3% said they had taken one.  16% were unfamiliar with voluntourism trips.

"Green initiatives are an increasing priority for hospitality businesses that are trying to reduce their environmental footprint," said Jenny Rushmore, Director of responsible travel for TripAdvisor. "Our survey shows that TripAdvisor travellers are interested in eco-friendly practices but hungry for more information about which green plans and policies are actually in place."

Information sourced from Tourism Update


Green travel today

But what should travelling green mean, really—beyond the pro forma reminder to reuse bath towels and switch off the lights when you go. What should we expect from a green venue? What is the state of the green travel segment today, and where is it heading? In short, where is green travel going?

In a 2013  TripAdvisor survey, 79% of travellers said implementing eco-friendly practices is important to their choice of lodging, and 85% of U.S. hoteliers indicate they currently have green practices in place.

66% of U.S. travellers believe their travel choices can make a difference to the environment, according to a recent PhoCusWright study; and more than 51% of meeting planners will hold meetings only in sustainable venues (Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Imex Global survey 2010). The U. S. Travel Data Center estimates that 43 million U.S. travelers are “ecologically concerned.”

46% of European business travellers say their company’s environmental policies have a direct impact on their travel.

Nearly 1/3 of U.S. travellers are willing to pay a premium for green travel.

67% of respondents to a major 2011 survey by hospitality giant Accor said that a sustainable hotel is as comfortable as a conventional hotel, and 70 percent said that they prefer a hotel with sustainability credentials.

The number of “dark green” consumers—those who select earth-friendly products for most of their purchases, travel or otherwise—increased in 2011, and now make up 9% of the consumer market.

56% of U.S. travellers are sceptical about what hotels and other travel destinations are telling them about their green practices. In the UK, the sceptics climb to 63%—yet the green travel market in England projects robust growth of 25% per year.

Only 8% of U.S. travellers think it’s easy to find green travel options.

Overall, the auguries are very promising. Travel Weekly recently reported that the number of baby boomers, Gen-Xers and millennials seeking authentic green experiences in their search for deeper meaning in their vacations continues to grow.

Green travel tomorrow

Where does this leave us? Our conclusions … and a few predictions:

Green travel is here to stay, and it’s growing. Likewise, greenwashing. People are right in their scepticism, but we must not let ourselves stray into cynicism. Being green or not being green does matter. And you can tell the difference.

Green travel should be transparent in its greenness. Increasingly, it isn’t enough for a hotel or tour company to claim it’s green because of this, that and the other thing—being green is certifiable, and ensures a continual upgrading of green practices. Short of 3rd-party certification, look for detailed information about green practices on a property’s Website and onsite. The good ones are proud to do show and tell.

Expect to be delighted

To thrive, green travel has to be great travel. You may have heard this from us before. It’s our own little mantra. In other words, don’t lower your standards to travel green. Expect to be delighted. Be willing to pay a bit more if necessary—because the experience is worth it. The mediocre players will fall away, the best will be recognized and thrive.

A word about lean economic times. It’s only natural that, when times are tough, we tend to refocus on price. Green travel is seldom the rock-bottom option, although enlightened hospitality managers like Travelquest’s Stephanie Lee understand it’s entirely possible to have “an environmentally sustainable and value-for-money vacation.” The word “value” is important—green vacations are healthier for you as well as the planet, and your well being is, well, priceless.


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