Cost vs. Conscience: dives into the modern traveller’s dilemma

Cost vs. Conscience: dives into the modern traveller’s dilemma

It’s the dilemma plaguing the modern traveller, cost vs conscience.

And taking the reigns on the issue is, which has revealed new sustainability research, with insights gathered from more than 33,000 travellers across 35 countries and territories.

Travellers worldwide are feeling pressured to choose between cutting costs and being more mindful about making more sustainable travel choices.

At a time of general global uncertainty, travelling more sustainably continues to be front of mind, with a clear majority (72%) of Australians believing people need to act now and make more sustainable choices for future generations. 42 per cent agree that recent climate change issues have encouraged them to be more sustainable.

Sustainability vs spending

Almost two thirds (64%) of travellers say they want to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months, while even more (77%) think the global energy crisis and rising cost of living is impacting their spending plans – the two are mutually exclusive. Nearly half of travellers believe they must make a choice between sustainability and spending, with over half of Aussies (58%) believing more sustainable travel options are too expensive (up 14 per cent from’s 2022 data).

With travel well and truly back and a more urgent focus on conscious choices, over a third (36%) of travellers would be willing to pay more for travel options with a sustainable certification. Nearly half (49%) want discounts and economic incentives in order to opt for eco-friendly options (up 15 per cent from 2022).

Breaking through barriers to drive change

From limited data to a perceived lack of options, barriers to travelling more sustainably appear higher than ever. Just under half (49%) believe there are not enough sustainable travel options, while 72 per cent want travel companies to offer more sustainable travel choices (up from 61% in 2022). Despite good intentions, 43 per cent of travellers don’t know where to find more sustainable options. Additionally, 75 per cent seek authentic experiences that are representative and support cultural sustainability, yet in stark contrast 35 per cent don’t know how or where to find these options that give back to the local community.

A regenerative mindset for the entire trip

Amid rising climate anxiety, travellers are becoming more responsible consumers, from their accommodation to their transport choices. Just over two thirds (68%) are wanting to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived, and are increasingly adopting a regenerative mindset.

For example, travellers can now easily filter their rental car search results on to quickly find fully electric and hybrid cars across 110 countries for their next trip. Or choose one of over 500,000 more sustainable options for their next stay, no matter the accommodation type. Demand is clear with over half (58%) wanting to stay in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification.

“’s 2023 Sustainable Travel research confirms an intersection between current cost of living concerns and the impact of climate change witnessed in our region, which has led to a greater demand for both more budget and planet-friendly travel options,” said Laura Houldsworth, managing director Asia Pacific at

“We are listening and together with our partners across the industry, we are examining every part of the trip to not only support our travellers but also benefit our Australian communities and environments.”

“We are committed to making it easier for everyone to experience travel in a more mindful and responsible way, no matter where they are on their sustainability journey. More than 500,000 properties globally are now being recognized for their sustainability efforts with a Travel Sustainable badge including over 9,000 in Australia.”

Featured Image: A young woman kayaks through the backwaters of Monroe Island in Kollam District, Kerala, South India. (iStock/SolStock)

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