ETC: Travellers’ Sustainable Behaviour Remains Unaffected From COVID-19

EU citizens are adopting greener travelling options and are paying closer attention to their impact on the environment and local communities, the latest report of the European Travel Council (ETC) has revealed.

According to the findings of “Sustainable Travel in an Era of Disruption: Impact of Covid-19 on Sustainable Tourism Attitudes”, the pre-pandemic, current, and projected travel behaviour of the respondents align, meaning that the pandemic has had little to no impact on travellers behaviour in the future, reports.

However, respondents’ value orientation, beliefs and norms proved to be good indicators that travellers are aware of the seriousness of the need for sustainable travelling options but fail to materialise them.

Based on their responses and the level of awareness on the matter, ETC has divided the respondents into four groups:

  • Frontrunners represent the low-footprint travellers with the highest tendency of adopting sustainable travel behaviour in the future. This group also represents people with the strongest biospheric and altruistic value orientation.
  • The comfortable crowd makes up for people with habitual low-footprint travellers that have an interest in alternative destinations in ones’ proximity and in travelling in the low season.
  • Entitled Stewards represent the medium-footprint travellers that have a lower likelihood to compromise on location and time of travel but are open and willing to adjust otherwise.
  • Laggards include the habitual high-footprint travellers that have none to the low likelihood for considering sustainable options in the future.

“Overall, the study shows that travellers are most likely to adopt sustainable practices in the behavioural category of interacting with the local community and immersing in local life, learning about the local traditions and trades, buying local products, and choosing locally-owned restaurants while in the destination,” ETC noted on its press release regarding the report.

The attempts towards a greener and more eco-friendly travelling alternatives have been evident from the European authorities in addition to numerous organisations related to the environment. Previously, Greenpeace has called on the EU authorities to shift their focus towards rail as a travelling option.

The organisation believes that the Commission of the EU has shown a “shocking disregard for the climate crisis” and the environment and also urged the European Parliament to stop its plan for taxonomy as it represents a license to greenwash.

Furthermore, the efforts for sustainability have also been noticed by individual countries, such as France, which previously introduced Destination France, a ten-year plan, with a fund of €1.91 billion to transform and recover the tourism sector.

“We want to conquer and reconquer talent. There’s an increasingly strong desire for sustainable tourism.” France also needs to offer “higher quality” tourism, which will require digital investments,” France’s Prime Minister, Jean Castex, said.

>> France Says It Won’t Push Member States to Ban Short-Haul Flights During Its EU Presidency Next Year

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