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. For Aussies, this was led by 70 per cent of younger travellers (aged 18 to 24) compared to just 39 per cent of those 55 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 global 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. And Down Under, younger Aussies are again leading the charge. While the average Aussie young adult would be prepared to part with up to 34 per cent more money for green accommodation, 55 and overs would only pay an extra 13 per cent.
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. Almost 6 in 10 Aussies say they care more about doing their bit for local communities and the planet while travelling now than they did 10 years ago (57 per cent globally). In fact, following the pandemic, more than half of Australian adults (55 per cent) are more likely to be mindful of supporting local communities when travelling, and 58 per cent will be more mindful of dining out and supporting local businesses.
86 per cent of Aussies say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new – a finding consistent across the globe. With 80 per cent doing this by supporting local eateries, followed by shopping locally (77 per cent) and speaking with the locals (69 per cent). A further 3 in 10 (31 per cent) of young Aussies aged 18-24 choose to stay with travel companies that offer local community programs. Interestingly, younger travellers are also almost four times as likely to get involved with volunteering when visiting somewhere new compared to the 55 and overs (23% compared to 6%, respectively).
Travelling better for a sustainable future
The appetite for better, greener travel is ripe. An incredible 86 per cent of Aussie adults say they are committed to taking their everyday sustainable habits with them when they travel – compared to 82 per cent globally – with using the correct waste and recycling disposal for different items taking the top spot as the number one habit (81 per cent).
And it seems sustainability doesn't need to take a backseat on holidays. Hotels are a welcome spot to do better: when asked what Aussies have ever done on their travels to be more responsible, walking short distances to explore the local area and re-using towels took the top spot. And, when asked what people would avoid so they could be a more responsible traveller, 60 per cent of respondents said they would avoid leaving the air conditioning on when they leave the room.
Our Journey to Tomorrow
Leanne Harwood, Managing Director Australasia & Japan, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “There's no doubt the past year has made us more conscious than ever about the world around us, and the choices we make to care for our 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, so we can help shape the future of travel with our guests, hotels and partners. Through our new commitments, we are determined to contribute towards positive social and economic change, stand up for key issues such as diversity and inclusion and human rights, and to make more responsible environmental choices. These ambitions support the tremendous work we have already been spearheading in the region – from championing our local partnership with OzHarvest to wonderful initiatives across our hotels and resorts.
“As we look to the future, we know the greatest achievements happen when we work together with our partners, and the importance of operating thoughtfully and growing sustainably – even through the toughest of times.”
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.
Join the journey: More information on IHG's Journey to Tomorrow can be found here, including information on the plan, ambitions, detailed commitments, and to follow the progress.