Responses to Lonely Planet’s annual global Traveller’s Pulse survey show increased interest in both sustainable travel and volunteering, as well asactivity-oriented travel. The online survey had 24,500 participants from 144 countries around the world, and was conducted on the Lonely Planet website and in conjunction with 49 partner sites.
When asked about reasons for travel, the respondents showed an increased interest in participating in activities as opposed to sightseeing. As in other years, activity was chosen as the major purpose for travel. It was chosen by 32% of the respondents. The results reflect a growing interest in new experiences rather than just visiting destinations.
In the survey, 84% reported they would consider taking action to offset the emissions generated from their travels, while the previous survey had shown that only 31% were willing to do so. While 25% of the respondents had already volunteered overseas, 79% said they might or would do so at a future date.
The response to questions on whether travelers had or would take the environment into consideration in their travels showed a dramatic difference between the past and the future. A full 93% reported they might or would purposefully choose environmentally friendly travel, while 36% had never done so.
When questioned about choosing low-impact travel options, such as taking a bus rather than flying, 70% had made such a choice in the past. However, over 90% said they might or would make a low-impact choice in the future.
Airplane carbon emissions were a concern to all but 7% of the respondents. When asked what options they would support as being the most effective for reducing flight emissions, 25% chose carbon offsetting. However, 43% chose one of the following options:
– boycotting flying in favor of less damaging modes of transport
– a reduction in the number of flights
– increasing flying costs by adding a carbon tax
– giving everyone an annual carbon allowance which must also cover travel
A Lonely Planet spokesperson said it was encouraging to see travelers embracing change, “The survey reveals that 73% of respondents feel that travel is ‘in their blood’, so its fantastic to see that travelers are consciously considering their impacts, and are willing to alter their actions to protect the destinations they love.”
Lonely Planet has recently published “Volunteer: A Travellers Guide to Making a Difference Around the World”. Lonely Planet’s updated Australia guide, to be published in November, includes a new section known as the GreenDex, an index to sustainable accommodation, tours, and experiences.
Visit Lonely Planet at www.lonelyplanet.com.