Green travel less of a consideration for Asia-Pacific travellers

HONG KONG – Travelport has revealed findings from its third Asia Pacific Retail Travel Benchmarking Survey that offers some interesting insights into consumer travel patterns and attitudes. The survey found that while sustainability and carbon footprint reduction may have become buzzwords in other parts of the world, it is just beginning to take hold in the Asia Pacific region. Australia’s travel agents topped the survey for green travel awareness with 31 percent of agencies (more than double the Asia Pacific average) indicating that customers were “very concerned” about sustainable tourism. Singapore customers – both business and leisure – appeared the least concerned about reducing their travel carbon footprint, with 53 percent of travel agent respondents indicating that customers were “not concerned at all” about sustainable tourism. Business travellers from Singapore and Taiwan expressed the least interest in paying for sustainable travel, indicating that financial considerations were top of mind. “The lack of promotion to raise awareness of green travel may have contributed to these findings, with only 10 percent of travel agents proactively promoting eco-friendly tourism on a regular basis,” said Brad Holman, president and managing director, Travelport GDS – Asia Pacific. “These findings may also be the result of tighter travel budgets battered by the economic downturn rather than a genuine lack of concern for the environment,” Holman added. “For business travel, more than half of business travellers expressed a willingness to pay for more eco-friendly travel, particularly from Malaysia (80 percent), China (76 percent) and India (67 percent).” Some of the other survey findings reveal a growing trend for last minute travel with 60 percent of business reservations taking place between 0-5 days; travel agents in Singapore sold more than double the region’s average of cruise tours at 28 percent versus the region’s 11 percent; countries where shopping and sightseeing contributed the most to package tours were Thailand (69 percent) and Taiwan (65 percent); travel recommendations for car hire and rail has increased three fold in Malaysia, China and India, suggesting a new acceptance for a more cost effective means of travel; and online bookings comprised just 10 percent of travel agents’ total reservations, showing that agencies have not yet taken full advantage of an online presence. Travelport has operated in the Asia Pacific region for more than 20 years with Pacific headquarters located in Sydney and regional offices based in Hong Kong. Today, the company has approximately 300 employees based in the Asia Pacific region.

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