Mindful travel will be mainstream
People are more mindful than ever about travelling responsibly following the Covid-19 pandemic, reveals a new global survey by IHG Hotels & Resorts. The research is commissioned as part of IHG’s launch of ‘Journey to Tomorrow’: a 10-year action plan comprising a series of far-reaching new commitments to make a positive difference and help shape the future of responsible travel.
60 per cent of the 9,000 adults surveyed across the US, UK, Germany, Greater China, Australia and the UAE agree that they want to be more environmentally and socially conscious on their travels. This is led by 69 per cent of younger travellers (aged 18 to 24) compared to just 48 per cent of 55s and over, the UAE ranked second highest with 79 per cent of respondents.
It appears travellers not only intend to do more for the planet and communities around them, they are willing to pay for it too. The research found that UAE consumers will spend an average of 45 per cent more on accommodation they know operates responsibly – with 51 per cent happy to fork out more than 40 per cent extra a night.
With the world travelling more locally – or not at all – right now, it seems the pandemic has made consumers more mindful about preserving and connecting with the communities around them. More than half of respondents across the UAE (59 per cent) say they care more about doing their bit for local communities and the planet while travelling now than they did 10 years ago. In fact, 52 per cent of people say they are more likely to be mindful about avoiding tourist activities that have a negative impact on the local environment and communities since the global pandemic.
96 per cent of UAE respondents say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new, with 71 per cent doing this by speaking with the locals, supporting local eateries (68 per cent), followed by shopping locally (63 per cent), and getting involved with local tours (62 per cent). A further 4 in 10 choose to stay with travel companies that offer local community programmes.
The appetite for better, greener travel is ripe. An incredible 86 per cent of adults in the UAE say they are committed to taking their everyday sustainable habits with them when they travel, with using the correct waste and recycling disposal for different items taking the top spot as the number one habit.And it seems sustainability doesn’t need to take a backseat on holidays. When asked what people in the UAE have ever done on their travels to be more sustainable, the three most popular habits included carrying their own re-usable water or coffee cup, taking the public transport and walking short distances to explore the local area. And, when asked what people would avoid so they could be a more responsible traveller, 56 per cent of respondents said they would avoid leaving the air conditioning on when they leave the room.