Changing the Mindset: Travel and Sustainability

October 2018

With near unanimity, the time for taking action to mitigate climate challenges is now, with an official roadmap of Sustainable Development Goals to 2030 and the importance of collective environmental stewardship. Consumer attitudes are also shifting in the right direction, with the majority of consumers seeking to have a positive impact on the environment. Travel brands are not resting on their laurels, deploying technology to instigate behavioural change and rewarding sustainable actions.

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Key Findings

Perfect storm

A perfect storm has been unleashed. The impacts of tourism (good and bad) are ever more under scrutiny at every level, as the challenge of achieving sustainable, low-impact growth at a local and global level comes into sharp relief.

Enough is enough

The challenges for destinations is knowing when they have reached the optimum level of carrying capacity, especially where it concerns capacity management and the need to ensure the right balance of visitors and residents.

Plugging the gaps

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals provide the necessary roadmap for businesses, governments and consumers. A major push will also be required to ensure the right type of data is collated and used to measure tourism impacts.

Why wait?

Air travel is one of the biggest contributors to the travel industry’s carbon emissions, particularly long haul flights. However, electric aircraft are only expected by 2025, and the use of alternative fuels will take longer to integrate.

Game-changing technology

Travel brands and start-ups are taking things into their own hands, deploying technology to address problems such as over-tourism by providing alternative choices and encouraging visitors to explore further and deeper, beyond the tourist routes.

A force for good

With apps starting from as little as USD5,000, brands are rewarding good behaviour (whether for healthy, ethical or sustainable actions), optimising machine learning and algorithms to spur real change in consumer behaviour.

Not a silver bullet…

There is no silver bullet that will fix the world’s climate challenges, and it will require fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, government policy and company actions to deliver on the ambitious goals set out and avert climate chaos.


Key findings

Big Changes are Coming

Travel in 2030: no longer a case of growth at any cost
Facing up to unwelcome truths
Global Goals roadmap for future-proofing our world
Digital as an accelerator of travel growth
Nudging travellers in the right direction
Measuring Sustainable Tourism: a global standard to be met

Appetite for Change

Ethical living is identified as a key megatrend shaping behaviour
A growing appetite for mindful consumerism

Technology as a Game-changer

Geotourist : the act of visitor dispersal
Geotourist : scaling up for destination gains
Greening consumer behaviour for positive impacts
Ant Financial: rewarding good behaviour
Yoshinoya: incentivising healthy living
Fitbit : rewarding gamers for getting off the sofa


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