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Lonely Planet Survey Results Show Increased Interest in Green Travel

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OAKLAND, CALIF.—A new global survey by Lonely Planet reveals that travelers are keen to make significant changes to their behavior to travel sustainably. Lonely Planet’s annual Travelers’ Pulse survey, which polled over 24,500 people worldwide, showed 84 percent of respondents said they would consider offsetting their emissions in the future, whereas only 31 percent had done so in the past.

One of the strongest changes for the future was in volunteering. A huge 79 percent of respondents said they would or might volunteer overseas in the future, with only 25 percent having done so in the past. Seventy percent of travelers said they had purposefully traveled in a low-impact way in the past, (for example catching a bus rather than flying) and over 90 percent of people said they would or might do so in the future.

Travelers also have good intentions when it comes to protecting the environment. Although 36 percent of people had never purposefully considered the environment in their past travels, 93 percent of people said they would or might purposefully partake in environmentally friendly travel in the future. A Lonely Planet spokesperson said it was encouraging to see travelers embracing change.

“The survey reveals that 73 percent of respondents feel that travel is ‘in their blood,’ so its fantastic to see that travelers are consciously considering their impacts, and are willing to alter their actions to protect the destinations they love,” the spokesperson said. “It will be encouraging to watch whether these intended behaviors follow through.”

The survey also revealed that the majority of travelers are worried about carbon emissions from flying, with only 7 percent saying that they did not think aircraft carbon emissions were a concern.

Offsetting is Preferred Emissions Reduction Method

In the survey, respondents were given several options and asked to choose the one that they would primarily support for being most effective in reducing emissions from flights. While offsetting came out on top, with a quarter of all votes, surprisingly 43 percent chose one of the more radical options: boycotting flying for other less damaging modes of transport; airlines reducing the number of flights; increasing flying costs via a carbon tax; or everyone having an annual carbon allowance into which they must fit their travel.

Activity or interest has been a strong reason for travel in previous Travelers’ Pulse surveys. This year it was even stronger with 32 percent saying activity was their main purpose for travel, highlighting the growing trend towards exploring niche experiences rather than simply visiting destinations for sightseeing.

Lonely Planet has encouraged responsible travel since its first guide was published more than 30 years ago, and in recent years has stepped up its sustainable travel advice. Recently, Lonely Planet released a new volunteering handbook called Volunteer: A Travelers Guide to Making a Difference Around the World, and in November 2007 Lonely Planet’s new Australia guide will feature a new GreenDex—a quick-reference index of sustainable accommodation, tours and experiences.

Lonely Planet’s annual Travelers’ Pulse Survey was conducted online at www.lonelyplanet.com and via 49 partner websites, and is arguably the world’s most authoritative independent travel survey. The survey’s 24,500 respondents were from 144 countries.

Go to Lonely Planet.

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