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Sustainable travel a key consideration for most Canadians, report finds

Booking.com has released its annual Sustainable Travel Report.
Booking.com has released its annual Sustainable Travel Report. Courtesy: Booking.com

As it does every year leading up to Earth Day, travel website Booking.com has released the results of its global Sustainable Travel Report, which indicates a growth in awareness and interest in eco-friendly travel.

In 2018, it found that 84 per cent of Canadian travellers have a desire to go green on future vacations. That’s a significant jump from just last year, when 65 per cent of trekkers were eyeing eco-friendly and green accommodations.

READ MORE: Celebrate Earth Day with these Canadian eco-friendly travel destinations 

However, this year’s report found 49 per cent of respondents said they never, rarely or only sometimes manage to travel sustainably.

More than two-thirds (64 per cent) of Canadian travellers said they intend to stay in an eco-accommodation in 2018, which is an increase from both 2017 and 2016.

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“Sustainable travel” as a term means different things to different people. Nearly half of respondents said “sustainable travel” means staying in eco-friendly or green accommodations.

Here are the top reasons people choose eco-friendly destinations:

  • To help reduce environmental impact (40%)
  • To have a locally relevant experience (34%)
  • Wanting to feel good about an accommodation choice (33%)

READ MORE: Earth Day: 5 mind-blowing things you didn’t know about our planet

So, what’s motivating people to travel more sustainably? The Booking.com research found travel itself — and stunning natural sights they visited — inspired travellers (57 per cent) to go green in their future trips.

A White Pod, featured on Booking.com Sustainable Travel report.
A White Pod, featured on Booking.com Sustainable Travel report. Courtesy: Booking.com
The Marataba Safari Lodge.
The Marataba Safari Lodge. Courtesy: Booking.com
Booking.com has released its annual Sustainable Travel Report.
Booking.com has released its annual Sustainable Travel Report. Courtesy: Booking.com

The biggest barrier to booking green travel was the perceived extra cost, the report found. However, 58 per cent of Canadians said they would pay at least five per cent more on their travel to ensure it had a lighter environmental footprint.

Here are the top sustainable vacation activities:

  • Buying locally made products instead of mass-produced tourist souvenirs (53%)
  • Being adventurous and using public transportation instead of a taxi (52%)
  • Going off the beaten trail to find a local restaurant that uses local ingredients (41%)
  • Skipping tourist highlights in favour of less busy and often more rewarding sights (40%)
  • Opting for a unique place to stay that is also a certified eco-accommodation over a traditional hotel (30%)
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READ MORE: 19 eco-friendly products to shop for in honour of Earth Day 

“As Canadian travellers increasingly look to explore and experience the world in a sustainable way, we continue to look at ways that we can help make it even easier for them to do that, whether by highlighting eco-friendly properties or enabling people to filter their search results on Booking.com based on proximity to an electric vehicle charging station,” Pepijn Rijvers, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Booking.com said.

“Today’s research reaffirms that sustainable travel is within reach for all of us, which is encouraging as we together strive to make a positive impact for a more sustainable future.”

The Booking.com report was conducted among a sample of 12,134 respondents, across 12 different markets, including 1,035 Canadian respondents.