Cape Town - With more than 7 billion people sharing the planet and some 1.2bn people having travelled in 2016 alone - it's clear the earth's natural resources are under increasing pressure.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has marked 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
In essence, travellers are seeking a deeper appreciation for the world we live in. Now more than ever before tourism is a journey to “greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations “ says the UNWTO, "offering an appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.
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Travellers are more inclined to want to invest in experiences that not only broaden their own horizons but where it can make a difference to the people, nature and wildlife of the places they visit. Following earth day, an annual event created in the United States, global travel site, Booking.com, has released a global Sustainable Travel Report that shows projected trends of eco-consideration weighed by both travellers and accommodations for 2017.
The study was done across 11 markets, with more than a 1 000 respondents in each market, ranging from 18-year-old or older, specific to those who had travelled at least once or more in 2016 or are planning a trip for 2017.
According to study, the number of travellers staying in eco-friendly or ‘green’ accommodation at least once could double this year with 65% of global travellers expressing this intention versus 34% who stayed in one or more last year.
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However, international markets such as Australia, Brazil, Japan and the United States have seen a fall, with Australia down by 5%, Brazil down 8% and Japan and the US both down 4%.
"68% of global travellers are more likely to consider choosing an accommodation knowing that it was eco-friendly. For a large 79%, sustainable considerations also impact their mode of transport when traveling, with 43% taking public transport whenever possible, 42% trying to walk, bike or hike as much as possible and nearly one-fifth (18%) flying less to reduce their carbon footprint," says Booking.com
"For some, sustainable travel is experiencing and boosting local markets with 64% of travellers saying they are willing to pay higher rates for food because it is locally produced."
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According to the study, when it comes to making luxury adjustments in order to stay somewhere eco-friendly, the vast majority of global travellers were more than happy to accept these, with 94% willing to stay in a property with energy saving light bulbs, 89% in one with AC/Heating units that only run while you’re in the room and 80% in one with low-flow showerheads.
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