Sustainable Travel Index: Accelerating Momentum for Change

April 2022

Euromonitor International’s Sustainable Travel Index shines a light on countries’ performance in delivering sustainable tourism, across seven key pillars. Europe continues to lead the charge, taking the top 20 positions in the ranking, whilst strong progress is made in the Americas. There is growing momentum for sustainable transformation across tourism, which coincides with the latest IPCC report that warns that the window for action is closing with no time to lose.

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Key Findings

Europe leads by example

Europe holds the top 20 positions of the Sustainable Travel Index in 2021, shaped by the EU Green Deal that aims for the zone to be carbon neutral by 2050. Sweden as the number one ranked country in the index is moving even faster, putting into law that it will achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Real progress

Of all the seven pillars of the index, the most progress was made in sustainable tourism demand, with the best performers moving up 18 places on average over 2016-2021. The pandemic has allowed countries to exert greater control over destination management and create more balance between visitors and residents.

Accelerated pace of change

With travel accounting for at least 8% of the world’s carbon footprint, the urgency of the need to change is palpable, with defining moments at COP26 with the launch of the Glasgow Declaration and the WTTC’s Roadmap to net zero emissions for the industry.

Intrinsically linked

As per the latest IPCC report, climate change, biodiversity and nature are interdependent. The challenges of biodiversity loss caused by climate change must be addressed simultaneously. Countries like Colombia are crafting a bio-economy that puts nature first.

Regenerative solution

A new tourism paradigm is being embraced by countries such as New Zealand, adopting a regenerative tourism model – steeped in local values, putting local communities and the environment first – promising to give back substantially more than it takes.

Scope
Introduction to the Sustainable Travel Index
Key findings
Europe leads the way in sustainable travel transformation
Top rankings by pillar – Europe dominates in social sustainability, lodging and transport
Sweden continues to set the pace of change
Americas top the list of best performers over the long term
Estonia makes the largest strides at the top of the leader board
Travel industry heading in the right direction with increased engagement in sustainability
Status quo ripe for a shake-up to ramp up efforts for a net zero transition
Education is a key investment priority short term, but more concrete actions required
Long-term investment lacks strong commitment to biodiversity
Consumer interest in sustainability and climate heightened after the pandemic
Purpose-driven consumers feeling the pressure to go for price
European Green Deal – driving transformation through legislation
Growing momentum for real change by listening to the science
WTTC roadmap to net zero aims to decouple tourism growth from resource use
Environmental sustainability pillar – tackling climate change and biodiversity together
Mozambique top for environmental sustainability shoring up resilience
Energy, climate and nature intrinsically linked
Colombia puts biodiversity at its heart with tangible results
Sustainable tourism demand pillar
Australia’s resilient tourism economy creates value
Harnessing domestic demand to weather the storm
New Zealand’s new regenerative tourism model puts communities front and centre
Portugal uses pandemic as opportunity to accelerate sustainable and inclusive transition
Iceland – economic sustainability boosted by transparency and certification
Mauritius – making strong progress in sustainable lodging
Cities pave the way for truly sustainable living and travel
City movers and shakers make good use of citizens and data
Amsterdam shows how to walk the walk when it comes to sustainable transitions
Challenges to overcome
Become tomorrow’s next leader
Sustainable travel index methodology
Evaluation and selection criteria
List of indicators
Index pillars and category weightings
Pillars #1 and #2
Pillars #3 and #4
Pillars #5 and #6
Pillar #7
Greenview CHSB data integration to the index
Geographical coverage
Full sustainable travel index ranking

Travel

Travel encompasses several categories including tourism flows, lodging, travel modes, in-destination spending and booking.

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