People are more mindful than ever about travelling consciously 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, the UAE and Australia 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.
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 consumers will spend an average of 31 per cent more on accommodation they know operates responsibly – with 51 per cent happy to fork out more than 20 per cent extra a night.
Community first: Guests connecting with purpose
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 globe (57 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, 46 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.
86 per cent of people say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new, with two thirds doing this by supporting local eateries (67 per cent), followed by shopping locally (64 per cent), speaking with the locals (61 per cent), and getting involved with local tours (48 per cent). A further 3 in 10 choose to stay with travel companies that offer local community programmes. As for activities such as volunteering and restoration projects, young travellers aged 18-24 are nearly three times as likely to get involved when visiting another country, compared to those 55 and over.
Travelling better for a sustainable future
The appetite for better, greener travel is ripe. An incredible 82 per cent of adults around the world 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. Hotels are a welcome spot to do better: the two most popular habits when travelling include re-using towels and walking short distances to explore the local neighbourhood. And, when asked what people would avoid so they could be a more responsible traveller, 47 per cent of respondents said they would avoid leaving the air conditioning on when they leave the room.
Our Journey to Tomorrow
Keith Barr, CEO, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “As we look to the future, the global response to Covid-19 reminded us what can be achieved when we come together and work towards the greater good. This has made us all more conscious than ever about caring for people, communities and planet. Journey to Tomorrow embodies IHG’s strengthened commitment to make sure we do what’s right, not just what’s needed, and we are determined to contribute towards positive social and economic change, to stand up for key issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and human rights, and to make more responsible environmental choices.
“A great guest experience at our hotels is inextricably linked to operating thoughtfully and growing sustainably. So, while travel may have been temporarily paused for many, we want the next stage of our journey to be successful in every sense of the word.”
The ambitions and commitments are firmly rooted in an understanding of what is most important to colleagues, guests and partners across the world when it comes to doing business in the right way, as well as how IHG can play its part in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals in this important 10 years of action. For decades, IHG has been championing its purpose of True Hospitality, from providing skills and education to supporting young people, and taking action for environmental change, to partnering with experts globally on urgent causes such as humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
Commenting on IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow, Laurie Lee, Chief Executive Officer, CARE International UK said: “For the past decade, IHG Hotels & Resorts has demonstrated its commitment to responsible travel by working with CARE International UK to respond to emergencies around the world with a special focus on providing safe shelter. IHG’s support of CARE has remained firm despite the unprecedented challenges facing the travel industry – and the communities we serve – as a result of the pandemic. In the past year alone, CARE and IHG provided essential Covid-19 prevention resources to almost 5,000 people in the Bogor district of Indonesia, a region severely affected by floods and subsequent Covid-19 outbreaks.
“Furthermore, with IHG’s support, CARE helped nearly 20,000 people following Vanuatu’s devastating cyclone by providing emergency materials as well as the training and tools to rebuild homes. These life-saving humanitarian efforts are critical to helping communities respond to, and recover from, crises wherever they happen, and we look forward to continuing the next decade of action with IHG.”
With a family of 16 brands and almost 6,000 hotels and resorts at the heart of local communities around the globe, IHG is here when travellers are ready. IHG recognises the power of collaboration and will join forces with all who stay, work and partner with them to reduce carbon emissions in line with climate science, eliminate single-use items or move to reusable/recyclable alternatives, reduce food waste, and collaborate locally to tackle water sustainability in high-risk areas.