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Sustainable travel survey 2021 - 83% say sustainable travel is important

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71% would pay more to lower Carbon footprint.

Sustainable Travel Survey 2021 for The Vacationer was conducted to find out how important sustainable travel is to Americans and if they are willing to do their part. The survey included 504 Americans over the age of 18 and was conducted online using SurveyMonkey's interface/audience on our behalf from April 21-22, 2021. I, Eric Jones, analyzed the survey, and I am an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rowan College South Jersey. A complete methodology is listed at the bottom.

Key Stats: 

  • Nearly 83% of all Americans stated that sustainable travel was either Somewhat Important or Very Important to them.
  • Three out of every four American adults, or over 190 million people, will conscientiously think about how their travel plans can be more environmentally friendly the next time they book.
  • Over 71% of adult Americans would pay more for a vacation in order to lower their carbon footprint.

Here are the full results:
1. How important is sustainable travel (environmentally friendly) to you?
Very Important. - 26.10%
Somewhat Important. - 56.57%
Not at All Important. - 17.33%

Key Takeaway: Nearly 83% of all Americans stated that sustainable travel was either Somewhat Important or Very Important to them. The 83% represents over 210 million people over the age of 18 based on the current census.

Interesting Demographic Comparison: Sustainable travel is most important to the youngest generation aged 18-29. 29.63% of people in this age bracket noted it was Very Important to them. Only 13.33% said it was Not at All Important. On the other hand, sustainable travel is least important to the older generation of Americans over the age of 60. Only 23.08% of those over 60 said sustainable travel was Very Important to them. 25.27% said it was Not Important at All.

2. Do you intend to make more sustainable (eco-friendly) decisions when planning travel?
Yes, regardless if it inconveniences me. - 26.55%
Yes, but only if it does not inconvenience me. - 48.30%
No. - 25.15%

Key Takeaway: Almost 75% of all Americans aged 18 or older stated they intend to make more sustainable decisions when planning travel. Three out of every four American adults, or over 190 million people, will conscientiously think about how their travel plans can be more environmentally friendly the next time they book. We should note that 48.30% of people did say they will only make sustainable decisions if it does not inconvenience them.

Interesting Demographic Comparison: Respondents in the Middle Atlantic region said they were most likely to make eco-friendly travel planning decisions. 81.82% of people in this region which includes the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have these intentions. On the other hand, the West North Central region is the least likely to make sustainable decisions with 44% saying no.

3. Which factor is most important to you when booking travel?
Cost. - 61.75%
Time and Convenience. - 33.86%
Sustainability and Carbon Footprint. - 4.38%

Key Takeaway: Less than 5% of American adults said that sustainability and carbon footprint was most important to them when booking travel. Overwhelmingly, at 61.75%, people stated that cost was the most important followed by time and convenience. This is another indication that we need to speed up the adoption of eco-friendly transportation so that it is much cheaper and more convenient.

Interesting Demographic Comparison: The survey results indicated that more women thought cost was the most important factor when booking travel. 68.82% of women thought this while only 53.97% of men did.

4. How much more would you be willing to spend on your vacation in order to lower your carbon footprint from the trip?
$0. - 28.63%
Less than $50. - 26.64%
Between $50 and $250. - 33.20%
Between $250 and $500. - 8.95%
Over $500. - 2.58%

Key Takeaway: Over 71% of adult Americans would pay more for a vacation in order to lower their carbon footprint. This equates to more than 182 million people. More astonishingly, 33.20% of people stated they would be willing to pay up to $250 extra to lower their vacation’s carbon footprint and fight climate change!

Interesting Demographic Comparison: The older a survey respondent was, the less likely they were willing to spend more on a vacation to lower their carbon footprint. 39.56% of those over 60 said they would not be willing to spend more despite likely having the most money. 33.71% of those aged 45-60 said they would not spend more while only 28.28% of people aged 30-44 would not. Lastly, only 14.81% of young people aged 18-29 said they would not be willing to spend more.

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