Seville is one of the cities that takes the most care of the environment. According to a survey, 79% of travelers are willing to pay at least 10% more for sustainable trips
A new study has revealed which are the most sustainable destinations and where eco-conscious travelers are heading.
The latest annual study by Euromonitor International – the Sustainable Travel Index 2023 – has revealed that European destinations are among the most sustainable in the world.
It also highlights that a high proportion of travelers are willing to pay much more for their holidays if they include sustainable elements.
Which destinations are trying to reduce their environmental impact and how much are tourists willing to pay to reduce their carbon footprint?
Which places in Europe are most sustainable for travelers?
According to the report, the most sustainable city in the world is Melbourne (Australia).
The country’s second-largest city has maintained its leadership position from last year, in part thanks to the ambitious goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2040. The goal has led to a wave of green initiatives across the metropolis, such as the greening streets, rehabilitating buildings and holding carbon-neutral events.
Spain also performed well, with two cities – Madrid and Seville – in second and third place. Both cities have improved their results from last year, probably thanks to the EU Net Zero Cities project, which aims to help cities reduce their emissions by 55% by 2030 and reach climate neutrality in 2050.
In terms of national results, Europe takes center stage, with the top 17 countries coming from the continent. Sweden, Finland and Austria occupy the top three places, while Estonia (in fifth place) is the country that rises the most, with five places more than last year.
Portugal also performed well, gaining six places between 2017 and 2022. The average spend per domestic trip to the country has increased and tourism now has a larger proportion of the country’s GDP.
A surprise entry on the list is Uruguay, which has entered the top 20 for the first time, rising 15 spots from 2021. Guatemala and Mexico also improved, increasing their positions from 2017.
Travelers are willing to pay more for green trips
The change in travelers’ mentality towards ecological awareness has never been more frequent.
The In the Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyle Survey, 2023 edition, reports that 79% of travelers are willing to pay at least 10% more for sustainable trips, despite the rising cost of living . These features include nature and outdoor activities, volunteer opportunities, immersion in local art and culture, and choosing the car or train over the plane.
Of those willing to spend more on sustainable items, 41% say they would pay more than 30% extra for adventure and ecotourism activities.
How were sustainable destinations ranked?
Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel at Euromonitor International, explains how each destination is evaluated to determine its ranking.
“Our Sustainable Travel Index uses 56 indicators across seven pillars – environmental, social, economic, risk, demand, transport and accommodation – that determine the comparative performance of sustainable travel and tourism of 99 countries using scores and weights to develop a ranking general,” he explains.
“There are three main types of indicators. The health of a destination in relation to happiness, equality and social justice; then the specific impacts of tourism on the local environment, such as the energy consumption of hotels; and finally , the general state of tourism, such as the quality of infrastructure or dependence on international demand, “he assures.
“Looking ahead, the Sustainable Travel Index highlights green technology and the digitalization of travel as two sure ways to help achieve the path to net zero. Partnering with new startups in the green technology space could help pave the way towards a future of greener and cleaner travel,” he concludes.