Booking.com has released new research for Earth Day 2022 with insights gathered from more than 30,000 travelers across 32 countries and territories, highlighting that the impact of their trips remains top of mind. The survey found that 88% of Thai travelers responded that they want to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months –a 10% increase over what was surfaced through the company’s 2021 data.
The survey additionally found that 94% of travelers confirmed that sustainable travel is important to them, and three-quarters of all respondents (75%) cited that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices.
To that end, over two in three (67%) of Thai travelers say that the sustainability efforts of accommodations and transport providers play a significant role in their property and transportation decisions, respectively. In fact, 90% of Thai travelers say they would prefer to stay in a sustainable hotel whether they were looking for one or not.
Highlights from survey
Searching for more sustainable stays
Awareness and visibility of more sustainable stays continues, with 64% of Thai travelers confirming they have seen a sustainable accommodation on an online travel site over the past year and 73% indicating that they actively look for information on the sustainability efforts of a property before they book. Even more encouraging are the 72% of Thai travelers who say they have actually stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year. Of those who have experienced a more sustainable stay in the past 12 months, the reasons for selecting one vary:
- 44% said they chose it to help reduce their impact on the environment
- 40% wanted to have a more locally-relevant experience
- 38% believe sustainable properties treat the community better
While 95% of Thai travelers intend to stay in a sustainable property at least once in the coming year, there is still more to do to make more sustainable stay options easier to find for everyone. Of those who didn’t stay in a sustainable accommodation over the past year, 26% said they didn’t know they existed. While 33% said they still didn’t know how to find them. Only a quarter (25%) admit that they don’t actively look for the sustainability efforts of a property before they book, but if easily accessible, they say they will review it.
Choosing alternative destinations and timing
There is consensus amongst travelers on wanting to avoid busy and over-visited destinations, with 37% saying that they chose to travel outside of peak season and 35% choosing to go to a less popular travel destination over the last 12 months to avoid overcrowding. When thinking about future trips, Thai travelers would consider the following:
- 46% said they’d be willing to exclusively travel outside of peak season to avoid overcrowding
- 84% revealed that they would avoid popular tourist destinations and attractions to ensure a more even dispersal of the impact and benefits of their visit
- 42% would even be willing to choose an alternative to their preferred destination to help avoid overcrowding.
Connecting to culture and local communities
A regenerative philosophy is influencing decision-making, with 79% of Thai travelers saying they want to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived and the same amount 79% wanting to have experiences that are representative of the local culture.
In fact, 37% of travelers say they have actively familiarized themselves with the local cultural values and traditions at their travel destination in advance of their trips and 38% would be willing to pay more for travel activities to ensure they are giving back to local communities.
Tipping point for transportation
Travelers around the globe are mindful about how far they travel, how they get there and how they get around once they’re there. While Thais travelers are also conscious about the following:
- 27% of Thai travelers say they chose to travel to a destination closer to home to reduce their carbon footprint
- 31% indicated that they researched public transport and/or options to rent a bicycle in their chosen destination.
- 22% also chose to travel by train instead of car for longer distances
- 54% say they feel ashamed to fly because of its impact on the environment.
When it comes to booking transportation for their trips, 73% actively look for sustainability information. While 24% reveal that they don’t actively look for more sustainable transport options, it still has an impact on booking behavior and customer satisfaction.
“With increased demand on our natural resources and the undeniable impact of our way of life on the environment, we are fully committed to leading the industry in charting a more mindful and responsible course for the future of travel,” said Michelle Gao, Regional Manager, Mekong Region, at Booking.com
“We have ambitious goals for what we want to achieve, but together with our industry partners and the passion of our innovative employees, we can continue to make it easier for everyone to experience the world in a more mindful and responsible way.”
Featured Image: Rach Teo via Unsplash