Indian travellers back sustainable tourism in 2019, reveals Booking.com report

April 24, 2019 | Bureau | India Outbound

Key findings:

  • 79% of Indian travellers report being more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago.
  • 98% of Indian travellers intend to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead.
  • Over a half (51%) of Indian travellers believe that they would be more encouraged to travel sustainably if there were economic incentives offered, such as tax breaks, when choosing eco-friendly options
  • 80% of Indian travellers are seeking authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture

As the world gears up to mark Earth Day on April 22, Booking.com has released findings from its annual sustainable travel report. Research reveals more than three quarters (81%) of Indian travellers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations. While results were relatively consistent across ages, almost three-quarters (74%) of 46-55 year olds believe most strongly that this is needed, followed by millennials at 71%.

The views expressed by travellers are timely, considering the special report that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued in 2018, which asserts that the world has just over a decade to restrict global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which the risk of floods, droughts and extreme heat will significantly worsen.

Eco-mmodation

Consistent with overall intentions to make more sustainable travel choices, sustainable stays are growing in popularity, with 98% of Indian travellers intending to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead. This is the fourth consecutive year that Booking.com research has seen this figure trend up, from 62% in 2016 to 65% in 2017, and 68% in 2018.** Additionally, 90% of Indian travellers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not.

However, when it comes to recognizing a sustainable place to stay, 42% of Indian travellers say that they are not aware of the existence of eco-labels for vacation accommodations, while more than half (51%) of the travellers affirm that an international standard for identifying eco-friendly accommodation would help encourage them to travel more sustainably, and 82% would feel better about staying in an accommodation if they knew it had an eco-label.

Aspirations to Actions

Research results also indicated that travellers would be more encouraged to travel sustainably if there were economic incentives offered, such as tax breaks, when choosing eco-friendly options (51%). This is closely followed by online booking sites offering a sustainable or eco-friendly filter option (61%).

When it comes to in-destination experiences, over half (55%) of Indian travellers say they now alter behaviors to be more sustainable while traveling, such as walking, riding a bike or hiking whenever possible. Plus, 74% would like the money they spend on travel to go back into the local community. Likewise, 80% of Indian travellers are seeking authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture, while more than half (53%) request that travel companies offer tips on how to be more sustainable while traveling and 79% of respondents say that if there was an option to offset the carbon footprint on their vacation accommodation, they would do it.

Commenting on the release of the report, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com said, “We are always looking for ways to innovate across our platform to enable travellers make sustainable travel choices and provide support and investment to foster innovation in the sustainable tourism space through our Booking Booster, Cares Fund and Cares Lab start-up programs. It is essential for everyone in the travel ecosystem including the travellers to join hands for sustainable tourism to gain momentum and to drive meaningful change. In its fourth consecutive year, the report highlights the shift in outlook of travellers who increasingly want to make environment friendly choices while travelling, further outlining the barriers faced by today’s travellers to practice sustainability in their travel.”