Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report Affirms Potential Watershed Moment for Industry and Consumers in Singapore
Latest research from Booking.com reveals how the ‘pandemic effect’ could finally tip sustainable travel intent into impactful action
- 84% of Singaporean travelers think sustainable travel is vital, with 70% saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future
- The research comes as Singapore targets to become a sustainable tourism destination, pumping in S$68.5 million into its Tourism Development Fund this year
- To help boost the visibility of more sustainable stay options, Booking.com is now showing third-party sustainability certifications and details on a range of 30+ impactful practices in place at hundreds of thousands of properties around the world
New research released today from Booking.com, containing insights gathered from more than 29,000 travelers across 30 countries, suggests that the pandemic has been the tipping point for travelers to finally commit to their own sustainable journey, with 74% of Singaporean travelers believing people have to act now to save the planet for future generations.
As the world of travel starts to open up again, Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report reveals that Singaporean travelers are more committed than ever to do so in a mindful way, with over two thirds (70%) stating that the pandemic has influenced them to want to travel more sustainably in the future.
This research comes at a time where Singapore is doubling down on sustainable tourism. As travelers become more conscious about the environment and discerning in their choice of service providers, Singapore is preparing itself to seize these opportunities by pumping in S$68.5 million into its Tourism Development Fund, for travel businesses looking to test-bed sustainable tourism offerings.
According to the findings, Singaporean travelers’ day-to-day sustainable commitments are consistent with their intentions for future trips with 83% wanting to reduce general waste, 81% wanting to reduce their energy consumption (e.g. by turning off air conditioning and lights when they are not in a room) and 77% wanting to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport over taxis or rental cars.
Respect for the local community is also high on the list as almost three quarters (73%) want to have authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture when they travel, 84% believe increasing cultural understanding and preservation of cultural heritage is crucial and 78% want to ensure the economic impact of the industry is spread equally in all levels of society. Furthermore, 70% of Singaporean travelers will go as far as avoiding popular destinations and attractions to ensure they aren’t contributing to overcrowding challenges and helping do their part to disperse the positive benefits of travel to less frequently visited destinations and communities.
Singaporeans are inspired to act
These good intentions are inspiring action too. Many of these sustainable pledges are coming to fruition, with Singaporean travelers revealing that while on vacation in the past 12 months, 47% made a conscious decision to turn off their air conditioning/heater in their accommodation when they weren’t there, 43% took their own reusable water bottle, rather than buying bottled water while on vacation and 30% did activities to support the local community.
In fact, over half (55%) have admitted that they get annoyed if somewhere they are staying stops them from being sustainable, for example by not offering recycling facilities. The positive signs are indeed there, but there is still lots of room for improvement with more than half of travelers not yet thinking about the local community during their trips or taking these small steps to minimise their impact.
While a vast majority (90%) of Singaporean travelers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the upcoming year, 59% still believe that in 2021, there simply aren’t enough sustainable travel options available. In fact, 77% of Singaporean travelers would be more likely to choose an accommodation if it has implemented sustainability practices, with a similar amount (75%) thinking travel companies should offer more sustainable choices.
In terms of awareness and intentions, travelers and properties do appear to be on the same page, with new research revealing that 82%** of Booking.com's accommodation partners surveyed view sustainability in the hospitality industry as being important. This mirrors the 84% of Singaporean travelers who also believe sustainable travel is an important issue. However, although 3 out of 4** accommodation partners say they have implemented sustainable steps at their property, only one-third (31%**) actively communicate about their efforts proactively to potential guests, with this mostly happening at the time of check-in (59%**), indicating that significant challenges remain to making sustainability information easy to access for travelers at earlier stages of the booking process.
Closing the gap, step by step
As part of its mission to make sustainable choices easier for travellers, Booking.com is rolling out a program to better support properties on their green journey. This includes sharing guidance, insights and best practices with properties via various educational opportunities, including handbooks and dedicated content, all available via the Booking.com Partner Hub.
In connection, Booking.com is also currently displaying over 30 certifications officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, as well as multiple hotel chain sustainability programs. The company is sourcing this information directly from the certification bodies and displaying it on the property pages of partners who hold one of these established third-party certifications. To complement this, Booking.com is also encouraging its accommodation partners to update their sustainability information, which includes 32 impactful practices across five key categories: waste, energy and greenhouse gases, water, supporting local communities and protecting nature.
From this global roll-out, hundreds of thousands of properties have already started to share at least some of their sustainability information with Booking.com, which can be viewed on the ‘Sustainability initiatives’ banner on each of their property pages. While it’s still early days, this is an important first step in providing more sustainability information in a transparent way to consumers, ultimately making it easier for them to start making more sustainable travel choices.
“Despite travel being on a pause across most Asia-Pacific countries, it’s been inspiring to see awareness of the importance of sustainable travel consistently grow, both with our customers and now with our partners, too,” said Nuno Guerreiro, Booking.com Regional Director, South Asia, Oceania & Chains at Booking.com. “The time is ripe for the industry to rebuild with a renewed focus on sustainability, as seen with recent efforts by Singapore to boost its transformation into a sustainable destination. While there is still a lot of work to be done to make sustainable travel an easy choice for everyone, we are helping our partners identify and implement more sustainable practices, experiment with how best to highlight this information to customers, and ultimately make sustainability a transparent and easily identifiable part of their travel decision-making process.”
To download Booking.com’s full 2021 Sustainable Travel Report, please click here.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 29,349 respondents across 30 countries and territories (1,000 from USA, 1,007 from Canada, 1,000 from Mexico, 964 from Colombia, 1,000 from Brazil, 1,000 from Argentina, 999 from Australia, 941 from New Zealand, 1,001 from Spain, 1,000 from Italy, 1,000 from France, 1,000 from UK, 1,000 from Germany, 1,003 from Netherlands, 986 from Denmark, 1,000 from Sweden, 997 from Croatia, 1,005 from Russia, 1,003 from Israel, 1,000 from India, 1,000 from China, 1,005 from Hong Kong, 968 from Thailand, 963 from Singapore, 1,000 from Taiwan, 1,005 from Vietnam, 1,000 from South Korea, 1,000 from Japan, 1,002 from South Africa and 500 from Kenya ). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months and must be planning to travel in 2021, 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 March 2021.
**Research conducted by Booking.com with a representative sample of 3,390 accommodation providers from Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey was taken online and took place in April 2021.
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