17:53 PM

Gen Z and the Future of Sustainable Travel

  • research reveals that Gen Z is the generation most likely to want to volunteer when traveling (37%), as they believe it makes a trip more authentic because they get to meet local people and feel like they’ve made a difference (49%)
  • More than half (52%) of Gen Z travelers say they plan to visit less known destinations over popular ones if it means having less of an impact on the environment
  • Six in ten (63%) look to use more environmentally friendly means of transport once they have arrived at their destination


Gen Z (those between the ages of 16-24) are predicted by many to be more socially and environmentally aware than the generations before them. But will they live and travel to the high expectations placed on their – still quite young – shoulders? And to what extent will they follow the lead of those already going green?

We have conducted global research across 29 markets to uncover the travel behaviors and ambitions of this coming-of-age generation. The research reinforces that travelers of all ages are embracing an eco-escape and Gen Z is no exception. They too plan to be conscious travelers with a desire to ‘give back’ - whether that’s to the communities they visit, or by making decisions designed to help protect our planet.

Generation give back

Gen Z are determined to give back, making them the generation most interested in volunteering as a travel experience (37% v 31% of global average). Half (52%) of Gen Z travelers that haven’t volunteered before would be open to doing it on a future trip (57% female v 48% male) and almost half of Gen Z stated that they believe it is important to them to give back to the local community when traveling (44%).

Generational intentions with impact

When planning their next trip, Gen Z indicated that they are mindful of the planet and the effect their decisions have on it, with over half (54%) stating that the environmental impact traveling has on destinations is an important factor that needs to be considered when traveling. More than half (52%) would visit a less known destination over a popular one if it meant having less of an impact on the environment.

What’s surprising though, are the areas where Gen Z ranks slightly lower than other generations. When looking at over-tourism specifically, 63% of Gen Z would consider not visiting a destination if they knew it was threatened to be damaged due to over-tourism. That means Baby Boomer (those aged 55+, 67%) and Gen X (those aged 40-54) and Millennials (those aged 25-39) (both 65%) ranked higher.

Over half (56%) of Gen Z travelers have good intentions, stating that when it comes to planning and booking travel they would want to stay in a green/eco-friendly accommodation. However, this is actually the lowest when compared to older generations as Baby Boomers are the most likely (62%) to opt for an eco-mmodation, followed by Gen X (60%) and Millennials (58%).

A-to-B for Gen Z

Over half (51%) of global travelers of all ages would choose to reduce their carbon footprint by limiting the distance traveled. This number increases further once Gen Z have arrived, as 63% state they would use more environmentally friendly means of transportation, such as hybrid / electric rental cars, public transport, walking or biking, once they are at their destination. Although accelerating in the right direction for sustainable travel, older generations are ahead again with 68% of Baby Boomers and 65% of Gen X likely to choose sustainable travel options when planning and booking their travel.

Although Gen Z is a generation of good intentions and aware of the impact their travel could have on the environment, they have big shoes to fill as our research reveals that in some aspects of travel it is older travelers who have sustainable travel more figured out.

To find out more about the travel habits of the Gen Z traveler, visit


Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample size of 21,807 respondents aged 16 or over (25% of whom were aged 16-24) in 29 markets (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 600 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Fieldwork was undertaken between 1 and16 May 2019. The survey was carried out online. All research and recruitment, unless otherwise stated, was carried out by Vitreous World, with analysis by Ketchum Analytics.