Nearly three quarters of Kiwis planning travel rank sustainability as important factor - research

Kiwis are ranking sustainability as a key factor when travelling, research shows.
Kiwis are ranking sustainability as a key factor when travelling, research shows. Photo credit: Image - Newshub

Sustainability is a key concern for New Zealand travellers according to new research that shows the impacts of climate change is playing a huge part in choices made heading abroad post-COVID-19.

After the better part of two years stuck in Aotearoa, the resumption of international travel as restrictions are relaxed has seen Kiwis leap at the chance to get back overseas.

And a whopping 72 percent of New Zealanders surveyed by - in its most extensive research to date - rank sustainability as an important factor when it comes to rediscovering what lies beyond our shores.

Experts have already warned travellers to re-think travel habits due to impact on the planet, and those warnings have taken hold as nearly half of Kiwi travellers - 42 percent - are taking climate change into account to be more sustainable.

Responding to those numbers, said it is continuing to implement measures that make it easier for people to plan more environmentally responsible trips. 

"Kiwis continue to be conscientious travellers who, in the past year, have largely selected more sustainable travel choices when they can," New Zealand area manager Todd Lacey said. 

"More encouragingly, the intentions New Zealanders have for future travel show a genuine and increased commitment to taking greater strides towards being more sustainable while exploring the world.

"With increasing pressure on the environment making our choices all the more important, it's imperative that, together with our partners across the industry, we continue to make it easier for travellers to access information on sustainable travel, share the sustainability journeys our accommodation partners are on and offer more choice for all." 

Overseas travel generally leaves a carbon footprint greater than that of staying local, so many Kiwis are looking to offset their impact by making use of sustainable accommodation once they head abroad.

Nearly two thirds of the New Zealanders surveyed - 62 percent - said they would opt for sustainable accommodation and hopes to meet that demand with an identification tool, with more than 100,000 properties worldwide meeting its sustainable standard.

A total of 32 different sustainability practices are available to be implemented including water, waste, greenhouse gas emission and protection of nature for partners to apply to their properties.

Just over a quarter of New Zealanders are choosing to travel to destinations closer to home as a means of limiting their carbon footprint, while 24 percent said they are ashamed of the effect flying has on the environment.

Transport in general has been another consideration for Kiwis when travelling, with one in 10 opting to travel by train instead of by car when overseas, as 17 percent of those surveyed took time to look into public transport or cycling as a means of commuting before their trip.

The desire of travellers to be able to do so sustainably has seen launch its own climate action plan in an attempt to future proof the industry.

And after operating carbon neutral in 2021, has also set itself the target of being net zero by 2040.

"With increased pressure on our natural resources and the undeniable impact our way of life is having on the environment, we are 100 percent committed to leading the industry in charting a more mindful and responsible course for the future of travel," said chief executive Glenn Fogel. 

"We believe that travel is and should remain a powerful force for good, bringing enhanced cultural understanding, socio-economic opportunities for countless communities and the potential to help rejuvenate and protect our planet for the long term." 

More than 30,000 people from 32 different countries and territories were surveyed in February 2022 independently for the study, commissioned by, including just under 500 from New Zealand.

Participants had to be over the age of 18, had travelled in the 12 months prior to February 2022, and intended to travel again over the following year.