More education needed as a third of travellers “tired” of hearing about climate change finds

by: Felicity Cousins | April 22, 2024

WORLDWIDE: has released new research which shows while sustainable travel is important to 83 per cent of travellers, nearly a third are “tired” of hearing about climate change all the time.

The OTA gathered the data for its annual survey from 31,000 travellers across 34 countries and territories during February this year.

The research found there is a continued sense of desire and awareness for sustainable travel, with 83 per cent of travellers confirming that sustainable travel is important to them, but according to this year’s study a sense of weariness among travellers could be an issue with 28 per cent of travellers reporting they are tired of hearing about climate change all the time. 

Almost half (45 per cent) feel travelling more sustainably is important, but not a primary consideration when planning or booking a trip.

The research found that some travellers feel there is no point and it won’t make a difference with one-third (33 per cent) feeling that the damage already done is irreversible and that the travel choices they make are not going to change that. 

In fact, a quarter of travellers who took the survey (25 per cent), don’t believe climate change is as severe as people make it out to be – and some feel their time spent travelling is “too precious” to put sustainability at the top of their decision-making list (28 per cent). 

More than a third (34 per cent ) of travellers believe that being more sustainable in a destination that is not implementing sustainability practices itself feels pointless. 

Danielle D’Silva, head of sustainability at said: “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 travellers, but for communities and destinations everywhere.”, which recently removed its Travel Sustainable programme in favour of third party verified sustainable certifications said the research also found that finding an accommodation labelled as more sustainable is more appealing to almost half of travellers (45 per cent) and consistency of certification standards is critical to identifying these options with 67 per cent agreeing that all travel booking sites should use the same sustainable certifications or labels. 

However, the number of travellers who are interested to learn more about why the accommodation was given this label is down 17 percentage points (at 52 per cent) when compared with the same time last year.

D’Silva said: “While many travellers 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.” 

It was not all doom and gloom however, with 75 per cent of respondents saying they want to travel more sustainably over the next 12 months, and 43 per cent would feel guilty if they make less sustainable travel choices. 

In terms of responsible travel, this year’s research also found that 45 per cent think they themselves have the potential to counteract the social impacts of travel, while 44 per cent think governments hold the most potential for countering the economic effects, and 43 per cent believe travel service providers hold the key to addressing environmental factors. 

Furthermore, 40 per cent of travellers believe that governments are responsible for educating people on the impacts of travel and tourism. 

D’Silva added; “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.”

The research was commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of 31,550 respondents across 34 countries and territories. Respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and must be planning to travel in 2024, and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in February 2024. drops Travel Sustainable programme to focus on third-party certification

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