Survey Reveals Guests

People are more mindful than ever about traveling consciously following the COVID-19 pandemic, reveals a new global survey by IHG Hotels & Resorts. The commissioned research is part of IHG's launch of 'Journey to Tomorrow': a 10-year action plan comprising a series of far-reaching new commitments to make a positive difference in communities around the world and help shape the future of responsible travel.

More than half of the 9,000 adults surveyed across the US, UK, China, the UAE, Germany and Australia – with almost two thirds in the US – agree 2020 and Covid-19 has made them more socially and environmentally conscious about their impact on the world when traveling. For Americans, younger travelers are far more likely to agree, with 78 percent of 18-24-year-olds sharing this sentiment, compared to just 27 percent of those 55 and over.

It appears travelers not only intend to do more for the planet and communities around them, they are willing to pay for it too. The research found that Americans will spend an average of 41 percent more on an accommodation they know operates responsibly – with 47 percent happy to fork out more than 40 percent extra a night.

With the world traveling more domestically – or not at all – for now, it seems the pandemic has made consumers more conscious about preserving, and connecting with, the communities around them. More than a third of respondents in the US (38 percent) say they will be more mindful about their travel choices following the pandemic. The number one consideration was how ethical and responsible the hotel brand is in creating an inclusive work environment, supporting jobs, providing skills training and education, and protecting human rights (42 percent), followed by avoiding tourist activities that could have a negative impact on the local environment and communities (38 percent).

84 percent of Americans surveyed say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new, with more than half (55 percent) doing this by supporting local eateries. Furthermore, 3 in 10 respondents globally choose to stay with travel companies that offer local community programs. As for activities such as volunteering and restoration projects, young American travelers aged 18-24 are nearly six times as likely to get involved when visiting another country, compared to those 55 and over.

The appetite for kinder, greener travel is ripe. An incredible 82 percent of adults around the world, along with 66 percent of Americans, say they are committed to taking their everyday sustainability habits with them when they travel, with minimizing food waste and recycling taking the top spot in the US as a priority.

And it seems sustainability doesn't need to take a backseat on vacation. Hotels are a welcome spot to practice better behaviors: for global travelers, the two most popular habits included re-using towels and walking short distances to explore the local area. And, when asked what people would avoid so they could be more responsible travelers, 36 percent of US respondents said they would avoid leaving the air conditioning on when they leave the room.

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