New research reveals Aussies’ biggest concerns about tourism’s environmental impact

Garbage and pollution on a Tropical beach

When it comes to the environmental impact of taking a holiday, Australians are most concerned about overtourism, polluted beaches or waterways, and energy inefficiencies in their accommodation, according to a new study.

Agoda’s Sustainable Travel Trends Survey reveals attitudes and perceptions Aussies have about travel and their ideas to make it more sustainable.

The research found that Aussies want to be able to easily identify eco-friendly travel options, and also want the tourism industry to stop using single-use plastics, and for hotels and accommodation providers who maximise energy efficiencies to be rewarded.

And while Australians go for low-hanging eco-pledges such turning air conditioning off and managing waste on their travels, Agoda’s survey found they are most likely globally to pledge to shop locally to help make a difference.

Paradoxically destroying sea corals is one of the top five things that concern Aussies most about the impact of travel.

But, despite having two of the world’s amazing reefs – Great Barrier and Ningaloo – off our shores, pledging to use reef-friendly products comes in way down the pledge scale at number 10 (10 per cent). Only travellers in the UK (six per cent), Japan (eight per cent) and Singapore (eight per cent) are less interested.

According to the survey, Australians’ top 10 pledges to travel more sustainably are:

  1. Manage my waste during my travel period (such as using less single-use plastics).
  2. Switch the air conditioner and lights off when I leave my room.
  3. Shop local/choose independent busineses.
  4. Do my part to reuse hotel amenities such as towels or bedding.
  5. Always look for eco-friendly accommodation.
  6. Pick up litter when I visit the beach.
  7. Manage my carbon footprint (for example, journey by bus, train or boat, or paying for a carbon offset).
  8. Go to lesser-known destinations.
  9. Request for no toiletries in the room, as I can bring my own.
  10. Use reef-friendly products on beach trips.

John Brown, CEO of Agoda, said the messages of taking simple steps such as switching off lights and air conditioning when leaving the room or reducing waste by minimising single-use plastics are being embraced by Aussies.

“What’s also clear from the Agoda’s Sustainable Travel Trends Survey is that people believe governments need to take the lead on managing sustainable travel, and there is recognition some responsibility lies with traveller’s own behaviour,” he said.

“We found most Australian travellers are keen to do their part by actively pledging to choose eco-friendly properties or make smarter environmental choices when travelling.

“One of the easiest ways to counter concerns about overtourism is to consider travelling to off-the-beaten-track destinations.

“This past year at Agoda, we have seen a shift in travel patterns as people, limited to domestic travel, explore lesser-known areas. This helps support independent hoteliers and accommodation providers and lessen the environmental burden on overcrowded areas.”

Featured image source: iStock/apomares

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