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Travelers worldwide are identifying sustainability as important and there is no better time to capitalize on that sentiment.

Travelers are identifying sustainability as important

Travel businesses of all stripes are facing similar issues, plus they’re grappling with how to meet the pent-up demand that’s been building while consumers have been stuck at home.

Difficulties aside, the resumption of travel – both leisure and business – is inevitable. But what will it look like this time around? Has the past year changed the industry’s values and norms, or is it headed back to where it was in 2019?

The wave of changes the travel industry has endured – and is enduring – over the past year and a half can only be described as feeling like an emotional rollercoaster.

While it’s been on the agenda for many travel brands for some time now, sustainability has grown into an even sharper focus since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With travel ground to a halt and drastically fewer customers to serve, travel brands and destinations had a rare opportunity to rethink their operations and their impact moving forward.

And, really, what could be more noble than trying to save the planet?

For all their efforts – and yes, sustainability is indeed an active priority for many players in the ecosystem – there remains a disconnect about what sustainability truly means and how that translates to traveler behavior.

A Sustainable Travel Insights report produced by one of the leading online travel platforms states, 82% of travelers think sustainable travel is important and 72% believe that travel companies should offer customers more sustainable travel choices.

However, according to National Geographic, only 15% of adults are sufficiently familiar with what sustainable travel actually means.

Before consumers can adequately understand what it means to travel sustainably – and understand at a practical level what they’re being asked to pay for or modify in terms of behavior – travel brands first need to more closely examine the agenda they’re pushing and why.

Critically, they need to establish and promote their efforts now. If consumers are identifying sustainability as important, there is no better time to capitalize on that sentiment.

With travel roaring back, travel brands risk missing a key opportunity to follow through on their promises to both their businesses and customers. By not acting urgently, “business as usual” lurks awfully close behind.

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