Sustainable Tourism

Demand for Sustainable Tourism

There are multiple studies outlining demand for sustainable tourism, however, be aware that most consumers will not ask for more sustainable options – they expect the tourism provider to just do it! Below are just a few highlights from studies. Sustaining Tourism has undertaken a number of studies to determine overall demand on this subject and assess demand for green products.

If you want to try to increase demand you can ask TripAdvisor to do so, check out this idea

    • A 2019 article by TravelPulse outlined that:
      • overtourism is an increasing issue that is pushing ‘flight shaming’ and visiting off season key influencers for travellers
    • A 2019 study by the Centre for Responsible Travel found:
      • there is a rise in responsible travel choices and a desire to get off the beaten path
    • A 2018 study by found:
      • Over half (55%) of global travellers report being more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago.  
      • Almost three quarters (72%) of travelers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations
    • A 2015 study by Expedia found:
      • Almost a third of consumers (29%) would be likely to choose one company over another based on their environmental record, up from one in five (19%) in 2011.
      • There is growing sentiment amongst consumers that it is the travel company’s responsibility to be environmentally responsible.
      • One in four consumers (40%)  believe that holidays should have an environmental and social rating, such as provided by the Travelife scheme, with only 16% disagreeing.
    • The World Travel and Tourism Council declares that:
      • members of the industry have generally improved their carbon efficiency by 20% in the last ten years
    • A 2015 study for the Province of Ontario in Canada found that
      • 61% of respondents were very or extremely interested in businesses or destinations showcasing their sustainability initiatives
      • 73% somewhat or extremely likely to consider sustainability in their travel plans
    • A 2014 study found that more than half of global consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies that show a commitment to social responsibility (Nielson, 2014)
      • The propensity to buy socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and Middle East/Africa (63%).
    • A 2012 report by The Travel Foundation and Forum for the Future found that 75% of consumers want a more responsible holiday
    • A 2012 study done by TripAdvisor stated that 71% of those surveyed said they would make environmentally friendly choices this year
    • A 2011 study done by CondeNast Traveler said 58% of their travellers hotel choice is influenced by the support the hotel gives to the local community
    • A 2011 study by Kuoni found that 22% of respondents said that sustainability is among the top three influencing factors when booking vacations (Kuoni)
    • a 2010 study done by a mass tour operator found that 44% of US and European customers said that if a company offered a sustainable holiday option, they would be interested. 44% also said they have a better image of a company that actively invest in environmental/social initiatives
    • a 2009 study of 400 visitors to Toronto, Canada found that 15% always considered the impacts on a host community when travelling. 48% purchase locally made souvenirs in a destination and 47% choose public transport rather than renting a car in a destination
    • 34% of US respondents in 2009 would visit an environmentally hotel or resort
    • a 2008 study done by Deloitte Consulting found that 90% of business travellers look to ‘green while away’
    • a US study in 2008 said that 48% of respondents were buying as much or more organic food as before the recession
    • a 2007 study found that over half of respondents would be more likely to select an airline, hotel or rental car service that used more environmentally friendly products or processes.



A good resource for debates on sustainable tourism issues can be found through the Sustainability Leaders Project which is a global community and knowledge hub for tourism professionals interested in the latest trends, strategies and success stories in sustainable tourism.

If you are looking for training then check out PM4SD – it addresses key factors contributing to the successful execution of sustainable tourism projects.
PM4SD (Project Management for Sustainable Development) is an internationally recognized methodology and professional qualification designed to help ensure tourism projects deliver benefits for all stakeholders and achieve lasting impacts. PM4SD is an effective tool enabling sustainable tourism practitioners to use tourism as a positive force for social, economic and cultural change.

A specialized training scheme for tourism professionals, the PM4SD training forms an important benchmark for competitiveness and growth in the tourism industry and the achievement of sustainable development goals.”

For more information about sustainable tourism, check out the following links:


Alligator - sustainable tourism scene