WTTC: Consumers shift toward sustainable travel

A new report by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Trip.com Group, together with Deloitte, reveals a heightened appetite for sustainable tourism among consumers, with 69% of travelers actively seeking sustainable travel options.

The report, “A world in motion: Shifting consumer travel trends in 2022 and beyond,” shows that sustainability is a key element of the travel agenda, with travelers eager to reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable tourism.

According to a survey included in the report, three-quarters of travelers are considering traveling more sustainably in the future, and nearly 60% have chosen more sustainable travel options in the last couple of years.

Another survey also found that around three-quarters of high-end travelers are willing to pay extra to make their trips more sustainable.

Last year, following more than two years of travel disruption, travelers made clear their wanderlust is very much alive, with a 109% increase of international overnight arrivals, compared to 2021.

According to the report, consumers last year were willing to stretch their budget for their holiday plans, with 86% of travelers planning on spending the same amount or more on international travel than in 2019, with U.S. tourists leading the list as big spenders.

But 2023 is looking even better in terms of travelers’ spend. Despite concerns about inflation and the cost-of-living crisis around the world, nearly a third (31%) of travelers said they intend to spend more on international travel this year than in 2022.

Additionally, according to Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker, more than half (53%) of global consumers surveyed during last summer said they plan to stay in a hotel over the following three months.

Julia Simpson, president/CEO, WTTC, said, “The demand for travel is now stronger than ever and our report shows that this year we will see a significant bounce back. 2023 is set to be a very strong year for Travel & Tourism. Sustainability is top of travelers’ agenda, and consumers highlight the value they put on protecting nature and traveling responsibly.”

Jane Sun, CEO, Trip.com Group, said, “Travel & Tourism is a powerful force in driving the global economy, creating jobs, stimulating economic growth and lifting communities out of poverty. The Asia-Pacific region, with its rapidly growing middle-class and dynamic economies, is well-positioned to capitalize on the growth of the industry and take its place as a leader in the global tourism economy. I’m optimistic about the positive momentum for the global resumption and growth of travel in 2023, primarily driven by mainland Chinese consumers, which will help accelerate worldwide recovery and development.”

Scott Rosenberger, global transportation, hospitality & services sector leader, Deloitte said, “Travel is rebounding from the pandemic while innovating and meeting the demands of more modern alternative travel types, sustainable travel, luxury travel and much more. Even the rise in inflation-driven financial concerns is not slowing the pace; incredibly travel is being prioritized and flexible/remote work arrangements are creating new opportunities. We are actively engaging with our clients as they embrace these new trends and create memorable experiences for consumers.”

Other findings revealed in the report:

  • 2022 sun and sea package holiday sales are estimated to be up 75% compared to the previous year
  • Last year during the summer, international arrivals in European sun and beach destinations were just 15% below 2019 levels
  • Luxury holidays will prove particularly popular, with sales of luxury hotels expected to reach $92 billion by 2025 (compared to $76 billion in 2019)
  • In a survey, nearly 60% of travelers said they were either already paying to offset their carbon emissions or considering it if the price was right

To access more information and read the report in full, click here.