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Sustainable travel is in growing demand as two-thirds (64%) of Brits now consider themselves to be ‘green tourists’, with almost half (48%) more likely to stay in environmentally friendly accommodation than they were five years ago. Two-thirds (68%) of Brits also say they’d happily pay more to stay in accommodation that cares for the environment.

However, according to the research commissioned by Hostelworld, the online booking platform focused on the hostel market, one in five Brits confess to not being environmentally conscious and a third (29%) admit to not knowing what sustainable travel is.

The average Brit (19%) is almost three times as likely to say they don’t partake in any sustainable practices when travelling than the average hostel traveller (7%) who are leading the charge on sustainable travel. In fact, nine out of ten (89%) hostel travellers make efforts to travel sustainably and the research shows they are far more likely to go the extra mile to do so. For example, four out of five (81%) believe opportunities to give back to the local community are important when choosing their accommodation. This desire to engage is also found in how much hostel travellers value the chance to promote the local culture (75%) and learn the local language (74%).

Nevertheless, there is growing evidence that Brits are becoming increasingly aware of sustainable travel and the challenges that the environment is facing. The research has found that real life events (23%) such as the melting ice caps and bush fires in Australia and the United States have the most impact on how and where Brits travel. Meanwhile, Brits are twice as likely to credit Sir David Attenborough (20%) for the increasing demand for sustainable tourism as they are leading environmentalist Greta Thunberg (10%) or politicians (9%).

This desire to be more environmentally friendly on their travels is impacting where tourists choose to visit on their holidays. One in six (16%) Brits now actively choose destinations that are out of the ordinary and/or unfrequented by mass tourism and a third (35%) are more likely to opt for a staycation than they were five years ago.

A crucial element of sustainable travel that all Brits recognise is the importance of recycling and reducing single-use plastics. The majority say they’re more likely to recycle (57%) and avoid using single-use products (54%) on their travels than they were five years ago, and a third (35%) actively reduce their use of plastics when abroad. Indeed, two-thirds (69%) say it’s important that their accommodation shares these values when booking their trip.

Following findings from the research that the majority (55%) of Brits think travel companies should be doing more to help customers travel sustainably, Hostelworld has become a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative led by UN Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

As part of their pledge to the initiative, Hostelworld will encourage its global hostel partners to commit to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, with participating hostels being highlighted across its platform to environmentally conscious travellers.

Hostelworld will provide advice and guide hostels to better manage plastics, aiming to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025. There’s also a commitment to invest and increase recycling and composting rates for plastics.

Hostelworld continues to offer a wealth of environmentally friendly hostels available all around the globe. Find out more about Hostelworld’s commitment to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative here:


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