Newton (www.imagine-your-world.com): Travelers, including traveling photographers, are making more eco-friendly decisions and consider the environmental impact before booking hotels or transportation, TripAdvisor says. During a recent survey of more than 700 U.S. travelers, 71 percent said they plan to make more eco-friendly choices in the next 12 months. Fifty-seven percent of travelers said they "often" make eco-friendly travel decisions.
"Green initiatives are an increasing priority for hospitality businesses that are trying to reduce their environmental footprint," said Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel for TripAdvisor. "Our survey shows that travelers are interested in eco-friendly practices, but hungry for more information about which green plans and policies are actually in place."
Only forty-four percent of travelers stated that they are more environmentally conscious at home, forty-seven percent stated that they are equally eco-friendly at home and while traveling. Turning the lights off when not in the hotel room has become a good practice with 88 percent of the respondents, and 80 percent said that they participate in linen and towels re-use programs. 57 percent of all travelers surveyed said that they would participate in recycling programs if hotels offer them.
However, not all travelers believe that a hotel always practices what it preaches. Forty-one percent would believe a claim to be eco-friendly only if they experienced or witnessed green practices first hand. Forty-four percent “mostly” believe claims to be eco-friendly, but 32 percent “rarely” do and 20 percent "don’t know." Twenty-four percent would be "green believers" if they were able to see a hotel’s environmentally-friendly certification. Sixty percent of travelers said they rarely feel informed about whether hotels are truly eco-friendly, and 13 percent said they never do.
58 percent of all travelers surveyed perceive a hotel as eco-friendly when it offers to re-use towels and linens, 37 percent say that an adjustable in-room thermostat is a sign of being environmentally conscious, and 32 percent named water-efficient low-flow toilets and showerheads as a good indication that a hotel really is eco-friendly.
Half of the travelers surveyed would spend more money to stay at an eco-friendly accommodation. Twenty-three percent said they would pay up to $25 per night in addition to the common rate to stay at such a property, while nine percent would be willing to spend $25 to $50 extra. Seventy-five percent said the current economic landscape does not affect their interest in eco-friendly travel choices.
That eco-friendly travel is still a developing trend becomes obvious when considering that 17 percent of all travelers surveyed said they are unfamiliar with such trips. Only four percent said they have taken an eco-tourism trip. On the other hand, twenty-four percent have considered a "voluntourism" trip and three percent said they’ve taken one. Sixteen percent are unfamiliar with voluntourism tours and expeditions.
Nearly a third of all travelers surveyed (30 percent) would choose a destination because it is considered eco-friendly. Costa Rica was named as the most popular destination in the world for travelers interested in an eco-friendly trip.