From India to Indonesia, Asian travelers are becoming increasingly conscious about sustainable choices — and perplexed by them. The travel industry needs to understand this — and failing to do so might be tantamount to greenwashing in the eyes of consumers.
Net-zero, carbon-neutrality, sustainable, offset — as popular as these words may be, do travelers really know what they mean? Would they value travel products with a sustainable label more than the run-of-the-mill ones?
Sustainability has always been at the core of successful tourism destination management. Insights from reports serve as a barometer for how broad consumer awareness is evolving over time when it comes to more sustainable travel.
However, most Asian consumers have mentioned that the top reasons that discourage them from making sustainable travel choices are lack of access and information and claims that are hard to verify. And can they be alone among global travelers?
With the growing consumer appetite for sustainable travel options, it is important that the information is shared in a transparent and meaningful way for consumers, so that travelling sustainably becomes an easier choice for everyone.
Compared to other regions, Asian travelers have a higher preference for sustainable travel at 95 percent, compared to 74 percent in the Americas and 69 percent in Europe, according to a recent Expedia Sustainable Travel Study.
Booking.com’s inaugural Asia Pacific Travel Confidence Index also reveals an appetite for sustainable travel amongst travelers.
In Southeast Asia, 51 percent of travelers would spend at least half of their monthly salary or more to travel sustainably, according to a recent BlackBox study.
The pandemic has also made consumers more aware of the environmental degradation caused by human actions, and compelled them to reduce the harm.
While some travel companies are trying to educate consumers and raise awareness, the road to sustainability is a long one, a sentiment that was also echoed at the Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit this year.
What Asian Travelers Want
When it comes to ‘walking the walk,’ it differs from person to person and country to country. For example, Japanese travelers view supporting local economies as the top sustainable travel choice, whereas Chinese holidaymakers believe lessening the environmental impact of their travel is most important.
“Asian travelers are not shying away from spending their money on sustainability-centric vacations such as eco-friendly and ethnically-run accommodations that align with their values,” observed Jeremy Tran, founder of Sainha, a firm that develops sustainability-centric business strategies.
This is an excerpt from an article by Peden Doma Bhutia originally published by Skift.