SUSTAINABLE TOURISM MARKET TO GROW 33% IN 2022, SAYS NEW REPORT

The sustainable tourism market is set to register a year-on-year growth rate of 33.3% this year, according to new research. It would see the industry grow to a value of more than US $1 trillion.

In the wider travel and tourism industry, the share of the global sustainable tourism market is estimated to be between 2% and 5%.

The findings come from a study by Future Market Insights. Researchers estimate the market to develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.4% in the next ten years.

Research conducted by Booking.com earlier this year revealed that almost three quarters (73%) of US travellers consider sustainable tourism as important to them, while 44% have been influenced to make more sustainable travel choices following recent news about climate change. The study comes from a survey of 30,000 travellers across 32 countries and territories.

In the Americas, 61% travellers say they want to travel more sustainably over the coming year – a 15% increase over what emerged in the company’s data last year. Around one third (35%) of US travellers say that the sustainable efforts of transport and accommodation providers play a significant part in their decisions. In addition, 61% claim they would be more likely to choose a sustainable place to stay, whether they were specifically looking for this or not.

Sustainable tourism
Pasture Song Farm in Pottstown, USA. Credit: Zoe Schaeffer

Sustainable stays continue to gain awareness and visibility online, with 39% of US travellers saying they have seen such options on travel sites in the past year.

Some 45% suggest they actively look for information on a property’s sustainability efforts before booking while 47% say they have stayed in a sustainable accommodation during the same period. Guests who have stayed at sustainable accommodations gave the following reasons for selecting it:

  • Three in ten said they chose it to help reduce their impact on the environment
  • A quarter said they believe sustainable accommodation treats the community better
  • Some 27% said they wanted to have a more locally relevant experience

While 62% of travellers say they 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 did not stay in a sustainable accommodation over the past year, 27% said they did not know they existed. While this is down 30% from 2021, indicating that awareness is growing, around one quarter (26%) said they still didn’t know how to find sustainable accommodation.

Almost two thirds (62%) 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, which further underlines the importance of making this sustainability information transparent and understandable for a broad audience of travellers.

With more than 100,000 properties globally now being recognised for their sustainability efforts with a Travel Sustainable badge on Booking.com, the company has also further expanded the number of third-party certifications and labels that automatically qualify accommodations to receive it. In addition to those officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, this now also includes Green Seal, Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Green Hospitality Ecolabel, Ibex Fairstay, Fair Trade Tourism, LEED and Edge.

“With increased pressure on our natural resources and the undeniable impact our way of life is having on the environment, we are 100% committed to leading the industry in charting a more mindful and responsible course for the future of travel,” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com.

“We have ambitious goals for what we want to achieve, but together with our partners across the industry 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. We believe that travel is and should remain a powerful force for good, bringing enhanced cultural understanding, socio-economic opportunities for countless communities and the potential to help rejuvenate and protect our planet for the long term.”

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