Increasing Trend in Green Travel

Last week, TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com), the world’s largest travel site, released some information that is very encouraging for sustainable businesses.  For those who don’t know, TripAdvisor is a website that features advice and reviews from travelers on all aspects of travel; including lodging, restaurants, flights, etc….

TripAdvisor’s announcement included the results of its eco-friendly travel survey, which included more than 700 U.S. travelers.  What these results found is good news for businesses looking to increase their sustainability.  The results show an increase in green-mindsets among travelers.

An article in the Green Lodging News (http://www.greenlodgingnews.com/tripadvisor-survey-reveals-travelers-growing-greener) discusses the results of TripAdvisor’s survey.  Firstly, 57% of travelers surveyed said that they “often” make eco-friendly travel decisions.  While the term “often” cannot be specifically quantified, it does reflect that a significant portion of those surveyed consider the environmental impact of their choices.  These eco-friendly travel choices could include hotels, transportation, and food sources, for example.  57% of 700+ people is a significant statistic that should not be overlooked.  Consumers ARE aware of the environmental impact of their travel choices, and are interested in learning about the sustainability of businesses they encounter in their travels.

An equally impactful statistic taken from this survey is that 50% of respondents said they would spend more money in order to stay at eco-friendly accommodations.  This data is important, because it shows that making eco-friendly improvements to your business can have gratifying returns.  Companies such as Green Earth Travel (www.greenearthtravel.com) have found success in planning vacations that promote sustainability and minimal environmental impact.  This shows that many travelers care more about their impact on the environment than they do about traveling inexpensively.  75% of those surveyed even said that the economic landscape does not affect their interest in eco-friendly travel choices.  Therefore, promoting eco-friendly practices are a great way for a business to increase its customer base.  Despite the current economic situation in America, environmental consciousness is a powerful market-driver, and will be an increasingly important part of the business landscape in the future.

According to Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel for TripAdvisor, “green initiatives are an increasing priority for hospitality businesses that are trying to reduce their environmental footprint.”  This is true for GAP SBN members, and trail town businesses considering joining the GAP SBN.  Many of the businesses along the GAP are in the hospitality industry, providing services to cyclists travelling along the GAP trail.  Making sustainable improvements is a great way for businesses in the Trail Towns to attract these customers.  While initial sustainable improvements can require extensive funding, time, and effort to implement, these survey results show that in the long run, sustainability improvements will be economically beneficial.  Eco-friendly mindsets are increasing among America’s consumers, which is great potential for businesses along the GAP to take advantage of.  If you are a business owner, check out the GAP Sustainable Business Network at www.gapsbn.com, or e-mail sca.cmadden@gmail.com to get info about sustainable business practices and to find out how to join the GAP SBN.

The Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network is coordinated by the Trail Town Outreach Corps. 

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