Mumbai, 12th January 2021: While COVID-19 may have halted our travel plans, it has also given some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations a much-needed moment of rest as travellers stayed indoors. This pause in globetrotting has inspired hopeful Indian travellers to become more aware of the wider impact of their trips, with 70% of Indian travellers wanting to travel more sustainably in the future, as per Booking.com’s Future of Travel research findings.
The survey conducted by leading digital travel platform Booking.com also reveals that 78% of Indian travellers expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options to meet their goals of sustainable travel in the future.
Unfollowing the crowd
Indian travellers planning to travel in 2021 have expressed a wish to avoid other tourists, with a spike in interest towards exploring lesser-known destinations this year. Based on our research, 76% of Indian travellers will stay away from crowded tourist attractions, indicating that destinations will need to adopt new, smart crowd management measures to appease travellers.
The report further states that 54% of Indian travellers will visit alternative destinations in a bid to avoid travelling during peak season and 49% of Indian travellers will prefer alternative destinations to avoid overcrowding.
Supporting local communities
As the pandemic has amplified people’s awareness about their impact on the environment and local communities, travellers are now more aware of their impact than ever before, which will pave the way for more sustainable and regenerative travel in the future. 75% of Indian travellers indicated that they want their travel choices to also support the destination’s recovery efforts, and 73% of Indian travellers want to see how their spendings go back into supporting the local community.
Recycle and upcycle
The impact of Coronavirus has inspired 55% of Indian travellers to consider reducing waste and recycle their plastic when travelling once travel restrictions are lifted, showing that people are not just committed to protecting themselves, but also the places they visit.
To make sustainable travel easier for everyone, Booking.com is encouraging accommodation providers to make more sustainable choices. As a signatory to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) led by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Booking.com has committed to advocate for more sustainable practices and the elimination of the unnecessary use of single-use plastics in the travel and tourism industry. This includes promoting the GTPI’s recently published guide to Booking.com’s global network of accommodation providers, which offers practical advice to maintain high levels of safety and hygiene, without relying on single-use plastic products that further contribute to widespread pollution issues for communities and ecosystems around the world.
Towards a sustainable future
While travel has the power to broaden horizons, open up opportunities and connect people and cultures from around the world, every trip also has an impact on the environment and local communities. Booking.com wants to help lead the way in making sure that the impact of travel on people and places is both positive and long-lasting. In addition to developing resources with tips and information to help properties operate more sustainably overall, the company is testing features that enable properties to highlight their own eco-friendly efforts to potential customers on Booking.com. These first sustainable practices that have been identified (including efforts to eliminate single-use plastics, electricity-saving measures and initiatives to reduce water usage) can be easily implemented by accommodation partners and can also be verified by guests.
Commenting on the Future of Travel study, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com said, “At Booking.com, we believe travel has the power to transform lives for the better. As a leading digital travel platform, we believe sustainable travel will ensure future travellers can continue to encounter a world full of destinations sti ll worth exploring. For the past couple of years, we have worked alongside industry stakeholders to design and implement initiatives and products that support communities, reduce over-tourism, preserve culture and protect the environment. In doing so, we are fostering a long-term future where the whole industry works hand in hand to further transform the global travel experience into a powerful force for good.”