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Booking.com has conducted its annual global sustainability survey,
and this year’s results indicate travelers have a tinge of weariness and
disillusionment about their attitudes and decisions related to sustainable
travel.

The online survey was conducted in February and gathered
insights from more than 31,000 people across 34 countries and territories who
had traveled at least once in the past 12 months and who are planning to travel
in 2024.

More than three quarters – 83% – of respondents said sustainable
travel is important, and 75% said they want to travel more sustainably over the
next year, down
one percentage point compared with the 2023 survey
.

But almost half of the respondents this year – 45% – said sustainability
is not a primary consideration when they plan or book travel.

One-third said they feel the damage to the environment that has
already been done is irreversible and that their choices won’t have an impact.
And some also expressed doubts that could be impacting their travel decisions: 28%
of respondents said they are tired of hearing about climate change and one-quarter
said they don’t think climate change is as severe as it is “made out to be.”

In a statement sharing the survey results, Booking.com said, “Not
seeing sustainability in action is also contributing to the sense of
powerlessness” – with more than a third (34%) of travelers responding that it
feels “pointless” to act more sustainably in a destination that is not
implementing sustainability practices itself.

And as to where responsibility lies for progress on sustainability,
43% of respondents said travel service providers “hold the key to counteracting
the environmental” impact of travel. 

“While many travelers have retained a sense of
optimism and a desire to have a more positive impact, there is a critical
opportunity for the industry to accelerate efforts to make those choices easier
for everyone,” said Danielle D’Silva, head of sustainability at Booking.com. 

“It’s important that we continue ensuring that
more sustainable options are not only readily available, but also easy to trust
and understand. That’s where we believe further education, clear and consistent
standards and credible third-party certification of legitimate sustainable
practices across the travel experience can really help. While the signals of
consumer frustration should be a concern, it’s also a reminder to maintain our
focus on the impactful work we know can make a difference not only for travelers,
but for communities and destinations everywhere.”

Booking.com said its full report on the survey
data will be available in the coming weeks. The annual survey does not ask the same
questions each year, so year-to-year comparisons are not always possible.

In March, Booking.com revamped its sustainability program following pressure from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, which said some elements of the program were misleading. The online travel agency has eliminated its “Travel Sustainable Badge” that it gave to properties based on their score on a variety of sustainability measures. Now the OTA will label properties that have received a sustainability certification from a third-party.



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