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Transforming the Way the World Travels Trends&Sta s cs2015
Interna onal tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) reached 1.138 billion in 2014 4,000% higher than the 25 million
annual tourists in the 1950s. Arrivals increased 51 million in 2014, or 4.7%, over 2013. And 2014 marked the fi h
consecu ve year of above average growth since the 2009 economic crisis. Interna onal tourism receipts also hit a new
record, reaching US$ 1,197 billion in 2013 or US$ 230 billion more than in the precrisis year of 2008.1
The travel industry contributed US$ 7.6 trillion or 9.8% to world GDP in 2014, growing for the fi h consecu ve year.
Travel and tourism also employed (direct, indirect, and induced) nearly 277 million people in 20142 which is equivalent
to 1 in 11 jobs on the planet. By 2025, the number of employed is projected to rise to 356 million and the contribu on
to the global economy is forecast to reach US$ 11 trillion.3


Ecotourism Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the
welfare of local people.

EthicalTourism Tourism in a des na on where ethical issues are the key driver, e.g. social injus ce,
human rights, animal welfare, or the environment.

Geotourism Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place its
environment, heritage, aesthe cs, culture and wellbeing of its residents.

ProPoorTourism Tourism that results in increased net benefit for the poor people in a des na on.

ResponsibleTourism Tourism that maximizes the benefits to local communities, minimizes negative social or
environmental impacts, and helps local people conserve fragile cultures and habitats or species.

SustainableTourism Tourism that leads to the management of all resources in such a way that economic,
social, and aesthe c needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity,
essen al ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.

1333 H St. NW | Suite 300 East Tower | Washington, D.C. 20005 | P: 202 347 9203 | F: 202 775 0819
Tourist choices are increasingly influenced by sustainability
TheRoleof considera ons.
World Tourism Organiza ons (UNWTO) 2012 Tourisminthe
ResponsibleTravel GreenEconomy Report 8
The social and environmental impera ve for responsible The encouraging thing is that sustainable tourism is becoming
tourism is moun ng as inequality between the worlds richest more widely accepted so much so that UNESCO, the United
and poorest con nues to widen and the reali es of climate Na ons Educa onal, Scien fic and Cultural Organiza on, now
change become ever more apparent. In 2014, an Oxfam report believes it will go from alterna ve to mainstream within a
found that the worlds 85 richest people control US$ 1.7 decade.
trillion the same amount as the bo om half, 3.5 billion AlexBlackburne,Editor,Blue&GreenTomorrow 9
people of the global popula on.4 2014 was also the ho est
year on record, followed by 2010 and 2005, according to data Sustainability is at the forefront of our business model
from NASA and the Na onal Oceanic and Atmospheric because of customer demand. G Adventures grew its revenue
Administra on (NOAA).5 by 42% (around US$ 150 million) during the economic crisis
because it aligned its business model with sustainability.
Tourism, as the largest global service industry and one of the BrucePoonTip,FounderandCEO,GAdventures
top industries for poor countries, has an important role to play
in reversing these catastrophic trends. As UN Secretary
General Ban KiMoon states, One of the worlds largest SurveysandSta s csshow
economic sectors, tourism is especially wellplaced to promote
Some 43% of respondents said they would be considering the
environmental sustainability, green growth and our struggle
ethical or environmental footprint of their main holiday in
against climate change through its rela onship with energy.6
2014, with nearly 10% more saying they would be doing so
par ally, according to Blue & Green Tomorrows Sustainable
ConsumerDemandfor Tourism2014 .10

ResponsibleTravel 66% of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy
products and services from companies that have implemented
A variety of market studies in recent years have documented programs to give back to society, according to a 2012 Nielsen
sustained interest among consumers in tourism products and Wire Survey. Of this, 46% are willing to pay extra for CSRs.11
services that protect the environment and respect local In April 2014, U.S. travelers stated that they turned o lights
cultures. (96%) and air condi oning (72%) when not in their hotel room,
par cipated in their hotels towel/linen reuse program (90%),
Expertssay and used their hotels recycling facili es (81%) in order to
Responsible travel is moving beyond the confines of eco travel green. That said, only 12.7% were willing to pay US$
travel, ecolodges and other overtly green oerings. 10 $25 extra, while over 30% of global tourists were only
Increasingly, it is about the how as much as the what of willing to pay only US$ 1 $5 extra per night for an
travel. environmentally friendly hotel.12
AmericanSocietyofTravelWriters(ASTA)7 The percentage of companies with travel booking policies that
either require or recommend that a hotel adopt
sustainability measures has jumped to 19% in the U.S., up
from 11% in 2011, according to a new study by the Global
Business Travel Associa on, the trade group for the worlds
business travel managers.13

One in five consumers (21%) say they are prepared to pay

more for a holiday with a company that has a be er
environmental and social record; this has increased from 14%
in 2012 and 17% in 2010. There is also growing support for
holidays to have an environmental and social ra ng, similar to
star ra ngs for hotels, with over onethird (36%) of consumers
in favor of this, up from 25% in 2012 and 29% in 2010.14

Guests hike with a local guide in Costa Rica.


2 Transforming the Way the World Travels

96% of respondents stated that they expected that aircraft would In 2014, domes c and interna onal travelers made over 292
need to be more environmentally sustainable in 2050, according million recrea on visits to the 370 recrea on areas
to a May 2012 Statista survey. The companys research shows that administered by the U.S. Na onal Park Service.22
86% of global travelers felt that aircraft innovations that enabled
less fuel consumption and fewer carbon emissions were most 47% of business travelers prefer staying in a greencer fied
appealing.15 In 2015, a prototype solarpowered aircraft attempted hotels, according to Timetrics GlobalBusinessTravelerSurvey
the first roundtheworld flight, heralding the possibility of fossil 2013.23
fuel free, clean technologies in aviation.16 95% of business travelers surveyed believe that the hotel
A 2013 Travel Guard survey of travel agents concluded, industry should be undertaking green ini a ves and that
green travel is here to stay. The survey found 24% of sustainability will become a defining issue for the hospitality
those who responded noted that interest in green travel is industry in 2015 and beyond, according to Deloi es
currently the highest it's ever been in the last 10 years, and Hospitality2015report.24
51% reported that interest has remained constant throughout In 2012, 35% of adults said they would like to try a holiday
this me period.17 involving a voluntourism component and 6% said they had
A 2013 survey of 1,300 U.S. travelers shows already done so.25
that nearly twothirds o en or always consider the A 2013 Travel Guard survey of travel agents found that 38%
environment when choosing hotels, transporta on and reported that the ecotourism ac vity most popular with their
meals.18 clients is visi ng historical sites, followed by animalrelated
Todays consumers expect travel companies to build ac vi es such as wildlife safaris and bird watching (22%).26
sustainability into their product oer. A majority of 70% U.S. consumers who are focused on health and fitness, the
believe companies should be commi ed to preserving the environment, personal development, sustainable living and
natural environment and 55% to fair working condi ons, while social jus ce (known as conscien ous consumers), number 41
75% of consumers want a more responsible holiday and 66% million people, or 19% of U.S. adults, according to a 2012
would like to iden fy a greener holiday easily. To match study by the nonprofit organiza on LOHAS (Lifestyles Of
these expecta ons, 84% of those working in marke ng and Health And Sustainability). Conscien ous travelers are part of
public rela ons management see green creden als becoming this LOHAS pool.27
increasingly important as environmental issues move to the
forefront of customers minds, states a 2012 report by The
Travel Founda on and Forum for the Future.19 TheBusinessCasefor
A significant number of interna onal travelers seek out
nature and culturebased experiences, such as visi ng historic
sites (40% of overseas travelers), cultural sites (23%) and Sustainability is becoming much more mainstream within the
na onal parks (20%), according to the U.S. governments tourism industry, with increasing numbers of businesses
2012 Na onalTravel&TourismStrategy.20 crea ng environmental departments, adop ng environmental
This 2012 Na onal Travel & Tourism Strategy found similar and social good prac ces, seeking cer fica on, and looking at
trends among Americans traveling abroad: Naturebased, ways to green their supply chain.
culturebased, heritage and outdoor adventure travel
represent a significant segment of the outbound tourism Expertssay
market as well.21 There are a growing number of consumers, par cularly the
young, who are prepared to pay a premium for a holiday that
is more sustainable. So, it makes clear economic sense for
companies to have a well thought out sustainability plan that
sells the posi ve benefits of sustainability to consumers and
taps into this growing market.
NikkiWhite,HeadofDes na ons&Sustainability,ABTA28

Being a Responsible Business is part of IHGs DNA. As one of

the worlds leading hotel companies, with a broad por olio of
brands, we have an unrivalled opportunity to bring about
posi ve change in the environment and community both at a
local and global level.
Outdoor adventure travel is increasing in popularity. Richard Solomons, Chief Execu ve Ocer, InterCon nental
Photo:NorthwestFloridaOutdoorAdventure HotelGroup29

With leadership comes responsibility. Sabre is keenly focused A 2012 report by The Travel Founda on and Forum for the
on the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of Future iden fies six key benefits travel businesses will gain by
the travel industry and we are commi ed to providing our adop ng responsible prac ces:
customers with products and services that help them promote Reduce costs and improve eciencies.
these same longterm values throughout their businesses. Manage risks and meet emerging legal and regulatory
GreggWebb,President,SabreTravelNetwork30 requirements.
Engage sta in CSR, which has proven to be a key driver of
As market leader, it is incumbent on us to pioneer
employee sa sfac on.
sustainability change in our sector a challenge we embrace,
Gain compe ve advantage by oering dieren a ng
in the knowledge that success is cri cal to the future health of
experiences to customers.
our business and of the industry.
Meet emerging consumer trends.
PeterLong,ChiefExecu ve,TUITravel31
Protect your business by protec ng the environment on
which it depends.36
SurveysandSta s csshow
72% of mee ng planners say they have green policies in
In line with consumer sen ment, the majority of businesses place for at least some of their mee ngs, and 19% say they
(91%) agree that opera ng in an ecofriendly manner is have such policies for all mee ngs, according to a 2013 survey
important. North American and South American businesses of Successful Mee ngs readers. In addi on, 73% of planners
are the most likely to think that its important to have eco say sustainable policies and procedures have some or a great
friendly prac ces in place (both 93%). Over threequarters of deal of influence on the hotel they choose.37
businesses (77%) currently have prac ces in place to reduce
the impact their business has on the environment, according Some specific examples of businesses demonstra ng the
to a TripAdvisor survey, 20122013.32 economic and strategic benefits of sustainability include:
Many leading hoteliers have created senior management
In a survey by Sta s c, 36.1% of respondents stated that they posi ons in sustainability, recognizing its importance to
appreciate green design and construc on as an their business. Examples include: Marrio , Hilton, IHG,
environmentally friendly hotel prac ce.33 Fairmont, Wyndham, Accor and Kimpton, among
hoteliers, as well as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, TUI
85% of U.S. hoteliers indicate that they currently have green
Travel, and Vail Resorts.
prac ces in place, according to a 2013 study by TripAdvisor.34
Marrio Interna onal has developed a green hotel
A 2013 Conference Board survey of over 120 mul na onal prototype precer fied by the U.S. Green Building Council
corpora ons in Europe and the U.S. found that 73% iden fied as part of its LEED Volume Program. This prototype saves
integra ng sustainability into their corporate strategy as a Marrio s hotel owners an average of $100,000 in
top priority for their execu ve leadership team.35 development costs, six months in design me, and up to
25% in terms of energy and water consump on.38
Beginning in January 2015, InterCon nental Hotels
Groups (IHG) Green Engage system, a pointbased metric
program similar to LEED, is being rolled out across the
companys 4,800plus hotels. Proper es that wish to
move beyond internal recogni on and earn independent
third party cer fica on will now have the op on of
seamlessly and costeec vely gaining EarthCheck
Cer fica on.39
Hilton Hotels worldwide reduced energy use by 13.6%, carbon
output by 20.2%, waste output by 26.8%, and water use 13.1%
between 2009 2014.40
In 2013, TUI Travel took 3.8 million customers to hotels
with sustainability facili es, featured over 1,200 hotels
with sustainability cer fica ons, and reduced average per
passenger carbon emissions by 9.3%. In addi on, 94% of
their aircra are now fi ed with fuelsaving blended
winglets, reducing fuel burn by up to 5%.41

Elevated bungalows that oer ocean views without damaging

the dunes are a great example of green design.

4 Transforming the Way the World Travels

In the end its all about protec ng our product. If the product
TheDes na onCasefor our des na ons arent protected in environmental and
social terms then people wont want to visit them; it is as
ResponsibleTourism simple as that.
JohnDeVial,HeadofFinancialProtec on,ABTA45
In recent years, increasing a en on has been focused on
protec ng and enhancing environmental and social SurveysandSta s csshow
sustainability within en re tourism des na ons, and not
simply within individual businesses. Tools for measuring and The UNWTO predicts that ecotourism, nature, heritage,
criteria for cer fying green des na ons are gradually being cultural and so adventure tourism will grow rapidly over
developed, including by UNWTO, European Union, Na onal the next two decades and global spending on ecotourism is
Geographics Geotourism Program, Ethical Traveler, expected to increase at a higher rate than the tourism industry
EarthCheck, Green Globe, and Sustainable Travel as a whole.46
Interna onal. In November 2013, the Global Sustainable
The worlds terrestrial PAs (protected areas) receive about 8
Tourism Council (GSTC) released its Criteria for Des na ons
billion visits per year of which 80% are in Europe and North
(GSTCD), which represents a common understanding of the
America[T]hese visits generate approximately US$ 600
minimum requirements for a sustainable des na on.
billion per year in direct incountry expenditure and US$ 250
Expertssay billion per year in consumer surplus, according to a 2015
academic study.47
"In a growing number of des na ons, the business leaders,
Ecotourism has made its mark worldwide as a popular way to
ci zens, and government authori es are realizing that
see the sights without leaving a trace. Such tourism could
safeguarding their dis nc ve sense of place cultural assets,
grow to 25% of the global travel market within six years and
natural habitats, historic feature, scenic appeal are essen al
account for US$ 470 billion per year in revenues, according to
for reaping the benefits of responsible tourism. A trend to
The Interna onal Ecotourism Society (TIES).48
Jonathan Tourtellot, Geotourism Editor, Na onal Des na ons are threatened by climate change impacts,
GeographicTraveler42 extreme weather, water scarcity, unprecedented rates of
biodiversity loss, disease and growing poverty and inequality
Tourism done right can be a powerful tool for conserving
Sustainable tourism addresses the challenges head on, by
wilderness and heritage areas. For both traveller and local, it
protec ng des na ons at the same me as enhancing brand
increases apprecia on of the spiritual and environmental
value, increasing profits, saving costs, and improving
importance of conserving biodiversity.
compe ve posi oning, both for a rac ng and retaining
KerryLorimer,CodeGreen:ExperiencesofaLife me43
customers and recrui ng the best talent, according to the
Sustaining places sustains us as human beings. Without a 2012 study by The Travel Founda on and Forum for the
healthy planet where industries operate, sustaining ecosystem Future.49
services, where human rights are respected, where quality of
This 2012 study states further that regarding the overall issue
life is improved, we really cannot exist longterm.
of who is responsible for protec ng the des na on as a
tourism product, a more holis c approach is now emerging
the idea of des na on partnerships. Rather than any one
party being responsible for protec ng a des na on, this is a
mul stakeholder approach whereby all par es interested in a
des na on as a resource look at how they can work together
to achieve a common goal of sustainability.50

The buildup of consumers socioenvironmental awareness of

tourism development, states the UNWTO, is leading to
increased scru ny on the part of the public in des na on
decisionmaking and a growing requirement for new tourism
developments to be sustainable.51

Tourists are gaining socioenvironmental awareness.

Source:TheInterna onalEcotourismSociety

To sa sfy the defini on of sustainable tourism, des na ons now works in tourism, suppor ng livelihoods and
must take an interdisciplinary, holis c and integra ve contribu ng to the conserva on of fragile habitats and
approach which includes four main objec ves: to (i) threatened species.58
demonstrate sustainable des na on management; (ii) In Namibia, the combina on of low impact luxury lodges
maximize social and economic benefits for the host and biggame safaris have been successful at drawing
community and minimize nega ve impacts; (iii) maximize interna onal visitors. Wildlife has more than doubled
benefits to communi es, visitors, and cultural heritage and because villagers have become partners in the ecotourism
minimize impacts; and (iv) maximize benefits to the venture and now value and protect their habitat.59
environment and minimize nega ve impacts, according to Ethical Travelers list of The Worlds Ten Best Ethical
the 2013 Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Des na ons. Des na ons201560 includes:
The following are examples of des na on ini a ves to Lithuania, which set a goal of 23% use of renewable
become more sustainable: energy by 2020, and is currently at 22% far ahead
of schedule.
The City of Melbourne, Australia has introduced an Palau is promo ng energy eciency through an
innova ve environmental program to help city hotels to innova ve financing scheme that provides subsidies
cut energy, water and waste management costs. This for ci zens to build new homes with energysaving
Savings in the City program helps hotels to iden fy features. This is moving the country toward its target
economically viable ac ons they could take to reduce of 20% renewable energy and 30% energy eciency
energy consump on and opera ng costs. Eleven hotels by 2020. Palau is also designated an Environmental
are among the top 200 water users in Melbourne. And the Star by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for
hospitality sector accommoda on and food providers its extensive care of marine and terrestrial areas.
generates up to 18% of all waste in the municipality, so Uruguay has posi oned itself at the forefront of
theres plenty of scope to make meaningful savings.52 sustainable public transporta on in La n America,
In 2013, Cond Nast Traveler ranked Switzerland and with hopes to see electric buses and taxis on its
Okavango Delta in Botswana as the best sustainable streets by 2015. Another impressive stride in
des na ons among developed and developing countries Uruguay is its movement to become carbon neutral.
respec vely.53 With 80% of its energy now coming from renewable
According to the April 2013 Travel Guard update, a sources, the country is well on its way to mee ng its
whopping 49% of travel agents named Costa Rica as the goal of 90% by the end of 2015.
most popular des na on among clients, followed by Mauri us, which retains a rich, diverse flora of over
South Africa (12%), the Galapagos Islands (8%), Peru (7%) 670 species of flowering plants (over 300 of which
and Belize (6%).54 are endemic), embarked on a campaign to plant
A 5year des na on partnership in Cyprus has resulted in 200,000 trees by 2014. It has also established fishing
mandatory hotel sustainability standards for every hotel reserves and marine parks and has ins gated a
in Cyprus a world first. The minimum standards cover communitybased coralfarming program to combat
environmental issues and support for communi es the loss of reefs.
through local sourcing, promo ng local history and
culture, and help with community ini a ves.55
The 2012 TripAdvisor survey found that travelers rank the
top three ecofriendly U.S. ci es as Portland, Oregon;
San Francisco, California; and Sea le, Washington.56
In 2011, Cond Nast Traveler ranked Charleston, South
Carolina as the Top U.S. City based on its annual
Readers Choice survey. In the previous 14 Readers
Choice surveys (19972010), Charleston was ranked in the
top five ci es. The citys wellregulated, overnight tourism
centered on its historic homes, buildings, and culture
a racts four million annual visitors and generates more
than US$ 3 billion in annual revenue.57
The Botswana Tourism Organiza on has employed a low
volume highyield des na on management strategy in
the Okavango Delta region to generate high levels of
employment, income, and tax revenue while also
protec ng wild lands and threatened species.
Coral farming programs combat the loss of coral reefs in Mauritius.
Approximately 34% of the adult popula on in the region

6 Transforming the Way the World Travels

According to Green Global Travel, 15 countries were opportuni es at many area farms. Carefully avoiding
chosen in 2015 as responsible, sustainable tourism mass tourism, the Northeast Kingdom has been able
des na ons.61 Among these top des na ons are: to create tourism based on community, small
businesses, and stewardship of their abundant
Barbados: Leading the way in finding sustainable natural resources and built heritage.
means of building tourism while protec ng its
coastline, Barbados stands out as a best prac ce Tortuguero, Costa Rica: This small village and
model for the Caribbean. Their UNICEF child na onal park on Costa Ricas Atlan c coast is an
mortality rates are very good, which is an indicator anomaly. Its roadless and remote, but s ll one of
of womens rights and social welfare. They also the countrys most popular ecotourism des na ons.
earned the highest possible scores from Freedom The main draw is four species of sea turtles,
House in the categories of Poli cal Rights and Civil thousands of which nest and hatch along 20 miles of
Liber es, as well as high Press Freedom ra ngs. black sand beach between February and November.
Northeast Kingdom, Vermont: The Northeast Turtle viewing tours wellorganized, small group
Kingdom has embraced the concept of night walks along the beach and other ecotourism
geotourism, oering a plethora of localized ac vi es have brought income to locals and helped
experiences for visitors to enjoy, including handson to slow poaching of turtles and their eggs.

This 3rd edi on of TrendsandSta s cs was produced by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) in April 2015. It is available
for public use free of charge. We ask only that a ribu on is given to CREST. In order to assist with CRESTs periodic updates,
please send any sta s cs or quotes to CREST thanks Yuebo Robert Li and Eunmi Umi Kim for
research and updates and Allison Christensen for the graphic art and layout.

Thisreporthasbeenpreparedincollabora onwiththefollowingorganiza ons: thetravelfounda twi


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