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Sustainability matters to leisure travelers: study

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In a study in selected markets, more than two-thirds of consumers rated sustainability as very or extremely important when traveling for leisure, with 73% expecting sustainability to become more important in the next five years .

Following a decline in 2020, the global travel industry is growing again and is expected to reach $17 trillion by 2027, compared to $11 trillion before Covid-19.

New Bain & Company study, “Sustainable Tourism: An Untapped Opportunity for Green Growth,” reveals growing interest in more sustainable travel among leisure travelers worldwide as they choose destinations and providers (airlines, hotels, restaurants , and travel companies) based on their sustainability record and are starting to pay a premium for it.

On the other hand, research has shown that some travelers feel that the travel and tourism industry is doing little to no sustainability efforts, suggesting that the industry still has a lot of room to respond and change.

“People’s desire to travel sustainably and make more responsible choices drives sustainable tourism. Bain has developed a framework that defines the components of a sustainable travel experience around three pillars: Environmental impacts (e.g., eco-friendly transportation and accommodation options), social responsibility (eg, DEI standards), and community engagement (eg, contracts with locals),” said Karim Henain, Middle East partner at Bain & Company.

This is a great opportunity for “Sustainability Enthusiast” travelers interested in visiting the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The aim of the study was to better understand the behavior and preferences of relevant travelers interested in the Middle East and North Africa region. The study covered consumers from six markets: Germany, Italy, France, UK, Saudi Arabia and China.

Research finds that sustainability considerations influence travellers’ choices (64%), they are willing to pay extra for more sustainable products (66%) and recommend vacation destinations based on sustainability considerations (57%) ). Among the respondents, Bain identified sustainability enthusiasts: those (approximately 30 percent of survey respondents) who believe sustainability is “extremely important” in their daily lives and in leisure travel.

There are sustainability enthusiasts in all markets, but demographics vary across countries. Sustainability enthusiasts from China and Saudi Arabia, for example, are dominated by highly educated millennials, while their European counterparts have almost the same distribution across age groups, income and education levels.

Importantly, compared to other survey respondents, sustainability enthusiasts:

4 times more likely to rate sustainability aspects as ‘extremely important’ when choosing a holiday destination

7 times more likely to recommend a resort for sustainability

Willingness to pay for more sustainable options is 1.6 times higher compared to non-enthusiasts, with a premium of 15 to 20 percentage points

Egypt has multiple assets to tap, but there is still some work to be done

Egypt has launched several initiatives to improve sustainability performance

its travel and tourism division. Examples include Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Tourism in Egypt (MBDT), Green Star Hotels (GSH), and flagship initiatives to promote Egyptian resorts across sustainable development pillars, such as the town of El Gouna, “No. a place for sustainable development”. Winner of the United Nations-sponsored Global Green Town Award,” which recognizes cities that have made “significant efforts and progress in environmental sustainability and green communities.” El Gouna has a zero-waste system, with more than 85% of Reuse and recycle.

To gauge how travelers perceive Egypt’s sustainability efforts, survey respondents were asked to rank Egypt’s sustainability performance against key competing destinations in the MENA region (Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, UAE, Morocco). Sustainability enthusiasts rank Egypt as a better place for sustainability compared to other competing destinations, ranking Egypt second, but overall survey respondents ranked Egypt fourth.

Balancing the right mix of “bass” and “treble” is important for sustainable tourism in Egypt. While the low notes (broadly important themes like sustainability credentials and green infrastructure) are critical, clients tend to focus on the high notes, themes that can create competitive differentiation. For Egypt, one of the most important examples is strengthening protection of cultural and natural assets in major ecotourism areas, the report said.

Sustainable tourism presents a huge opportunity for Egyptian tourism, and a coordinated effort across the ecosystem is required to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Greening tourism is important as it allows tourism growth, environmental protection and social wellbeing to go hand in hand – green/sustainable tourism will ultimately help create jobs, support local economies and reduce poverty.” Bain Jenny Davis-Peccoud, Global Head of the Company’s Sustainability and Responsibility Practice, said. – trade arab news agency

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