Most Indians feel polluted beaches, excess tourism top factors affecting sustainability

Most Indian travellers surveyed feel polluted beaches and overtourism, followed by single-use plastics and energy inefficiencies, are some of the top concerns that impact sustainable tourism, according to a report. In India, the top practices most associated with environment-friendly or sustainable travel are accommodations using renewable energy and resources like solar, wind, hydroelectric and water, no single-use plastics and travelling to destinations that are not high-density tourist spots, said the survey report by international digital travel agency Agoda.

The Sustainable Travel Trends Survey, which was conducted among 18,327 travellers worldwide including 1,020 from India, has been rolled out to mark the World Environment Day on June 5.

When asked about what Indians associated the most with sustainability, those topped the list were renewable resources (36 per cent), natural cleaning products (32 per cent), and eco-friendly design or furniture (31 per cent).

Meanwhile, globally and in India, people consider governments most accountable for making positive environmental changes around travel, followed by tourism authorities and individuals themselves.

In India, 24 per cent of the total respondents believe the government is the most responsible when it comes to making changes to help travel more sustainability, followed by 22 per cent who cite tourism authorities and 20 per cent who said travellers themselves can bring in this change.

When asked what the travellers would pledge to do better in a post-COVID-19 travel scenario, the top responses globally and in India were to manage their waste including using less single-use plastics, and switch off the air conditioner and lights when leaving their accommodation.

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Agoda CEO John Brown said, “We can see from the survey that the messages of taking simple steps such as switching off lights and air conditioning when leaving the room or reducing waste by minimising use of single-use plastics are being embraced by the public across the globe.”

He added that what is also clear is that while globally, the message is that the governments need to take the lead on managing sustainable travel, there is recognition that some responsibility lies with people’s own behaviour.

“While there are different interpretations of what practices are eco-friendly or sustainable, most people are keen to be able to do their part, by actively pledging to choose eco-friendly properties or make smarter environmental choices when travelling,” Brown stated.

He said one of the ways to counter concerns about overtourism is to consider travelling to off-the-beaten track destinations. “This past year, on our platform, we saw a shift in travel patterns, as people, limited to domestic travel, explore lesser-known areas.”



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