Accor, together with Trip.com Group and global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, have published a new educational whitepaper on sustainable travel in China.
The path toward eco-friendly travel in China report examines the environmental impact of China’s tourism sector, analyses Chinese travellers’ sentiment towards sustainability and sets out actions key stakeholders in China’s tourism sector need to take to foster sustainable travel.
By identifying a series of sustainable changes that ought to be made, from the everyday to the systemic, which can support the travel and hospitality of tomorrow with the intention of becoming an informative industry reference tool for change, the report proposes that by adopting a set of collaborative measures across the industry value chain, from guests to major global providers, China’s tourism sector could move toward a more sustainable future.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, China is expected to have the world’s largest tourism market by 2032 and, prior to the pandemic, was already one of the biggest global markets. Analysis for the whitepaper found the environmental impact of China’s travel industry is substantial: tourism represented approximately six to eight per cent of China’s total carbon emissions in 2019.
Data from McKinsey showed that Chinese travellers are engaged about their environmental impact and are starting to seek out sustainable alternatives, but the report found they may need more help understanding where to look.
Trip.com Group found that 85 per cent of Chinese travellers rate travel sustainability as important or very important, while 60 per cent are concerned about climate change. However, Chinese consumers are not yet used to the idea of paying extra for sustainable travel, so it is important to provide travellers guidance regarding sustainability costs, highlighting the industries’ efforts to improve provision of sustainable offerings.
In response to this, the report provides guidance on the actions that travellers can take to travel sustainably and to empower their own consumer decisions, including booking sustainable travel options with certified service providers, spending more time in one destination, and cultivating sustainable habits. Traveller behaviour is just the first consideration the report highlights. Long-term sustainability will be achieved in tandem with initiatives from tourism providers, who hold a responsibility to inspire travellers’ mindset.
The whitepaper sets out a series of suggestions for the hospitality industry to support the Chinese traveller in their understanding of sustainable travel, including recommendations like using technology platforms to make sustainable travel options more visible online, using labelling to ensure travellers are informed on the environmental impact of their actions, providing incentives to encourage sustainable behaviour, and training employees to adopt a sustainability mindset.
The report states lasting sustainability improvements require collective industry-wide effort and concludes as a call to action for the hospitality industry to work together hand-in-hand to achieve sustainable transformation in China.
Sébastien Bazin, chairman & CEO, Accor, said: “When it comes to sustainability there are no individuals, only collectives, and this paper represents a major step forward for this collaborative industry approach.
“Impactful change cannot be made alone; transformation happens together.”
Download the full report here.