Americans Have Mixed Feelings About Travel and Climate Change

Many people love to travel.

Many people also have concerns about climate change.

So how do they reconcile their love for adventure with the fact that using an airplane, with all its emissions, is the most practical way of getting to their destination?

According to a new report, it’s a conundrum to be sure.

In a new travelhorizons survey of U.S. adults conducted by MMGY Global, many Americans acknowledge their travel may negatively impact the environment. And, nearly four in ten of these travelers (37 percent) believe that tourism overcrowding is now a serious issue.

travelhorizons is a Kansas City, Mo.-based company that conducts quarterly surveys of Americans’ travel intentions, viewed through the lens of emerging economic, social and political developments. This particular survey on travel and climate change was conducted nationwide among 2,302 pre-qualified adults from October 14-27, 2019.

The issue was clearly top of mind for many. To help reduce their ecological impact, travelers are willing to change their behaviors when they travel. For example, three in ten (32 percent) are willing to pay 10 percent higher rates or fares to airlines who demonstrate environmental responsibility.

In addition, more than half of travelers (54 percent) are willing to use less single-use plastics; 41 percent will consciously choose to visit destinations in the off-season to reduce overcrowding; 27 percent will intentionally book trips with environmentally-friendly hotels and tour companies, and about one in four (27 percent) will either rent bicycles or walk more instead of taking automobile transportation.

Yet, and here’s where the conundrum part comes in, only 12 percent of those who believe travel negatively impacts the environment have regretted taking a trip afterward because of the adverse effects it may have had on the planet.

According to the survey, one in three (34 percent) travelers believe that travel plays an important role in their understanding of the impact of climate change on the world. And, a similar percentage (32 percent) say travel increases their desire to help people in other parts of the country or the world.

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