As the world observes World Tourism Day in 2023, the travel industry stands at a crossroads, driven by an evolving trend – eco-friendliness. Travelers today are not only seeking adventure and cultural experiences but also prioritize responsible and sustainable travel choices. This transformation reflects not only a response to environmental concerns but also a shift in consumer preferences. Leading players in the travel industry are taking significant steps to make eco-friendliness a cornerstone of their strategies, ushering in a promising era for sustainable travel.
The Consumer Demand for Sustainable Travel
Advait Kumar, co-founder, Boon, a water-tech startup, highlights the growing demand for sustainable travel, says, “With 68% of consumers considering climate change an emergency, according to Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Survey, there is a surging demand for sustainable travel choices.” A recent Booking.com survey reveals that over half of global travelers (53%) are now more determined to travel sustainably than they were a year ago. This shift in consumer mindset is pushing the industry to respond with eco-friendly options.
The Hospitality Sector’s Commitment
Leading players in the hospitality sector are making significant strides in reducing their environmental footprint. Advait Kumar points out that hotels and accommodations are phasing out single-use plastics like plastic bottles, favouring eco-friendly alternatives such as glass bottles and water refill stations. Hotels are also adopting energy-efficient practices, harnessing renewable energy sources, and implementing water-saving measures to minimize their impact on the environment.
Travel Aggregators’ Role in Education
In addition to individual businesses, many suppliers within the travel industry have initiated emissions reduction programs. Travel aggregators are also playing a role in educating consumers about the climate impacts associated with their travel choices during the booking process. This collective commitment to eco-friendliness aligns with consumer values and contributes to broader goals, such as preserving local cultures and bolstering local economies, reshaping the future of the travel industry.
Sustainable Transportation’s Rise
Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder & Group CEO, ixigo, emphasizes the significance of sustainable transportation, opines, “One key trend shaping this future is the growing adoption of sustainable transportation like electric vehicles in India.” Electric buses, for instance, not only reduce carbon emissions but also offer tourists a greener way to experience India’s beauty. Investments in such eco-conscious alternatives are poised to shape the future of travel positively.
Saving the Environment with Electric Buses
Rohit Sharma, COO, AbhiBus, sheds light on the environmental impact of electric buses, shares, “As India gears up to invest approximately INR 57,613 crore in 10,000 electric buses, we foresee a positive impact on the environment.” Electric buses can save significant amounts of diesel daily, leading to substantial savings and reinforcing the commitment to environmental sustainability.
Digital Transformation of Train Travel
Sripad Vaidya, Co-founder & COO, ConfirmTkt, highlights the role of digital transformation in train travel, says, “From a substantial reduction in paper consumption, thanks to the rise of digital platforms, to the seamless convenience and accessibility of digital ticketing, we’ve ushered in an era where travel is not only user-friendly but environmentally responsible.” Digital ticketing apps offer convenience, reduce carbon footprints associated with additional vehicular travel, and complement the inherent energy efficiency of trains.
In conclusion, the future of the travel industry is unmistakably green. The commitment to eco-friendliness is not just a response to environmental concerns but also a reflection of travellers’ evolving preferences for ethical and responsible travel experiences. With sustainable practices and responsible choices, the travel industry is poised to offer experiences that preserve the environment, promote local cultures, and support local economies. This collective effort is set to reshape the future of travel into one that is eco-conscious and sustainable.