Hostel Travellers are driving the growth for sustainable travel

Hostelworld aims to unite hostel industry to tackle the root causes of plastic pollution and lessen the impact on the environment
  • 92% of hostel guests would happily pay more to stay in accommodation that cares for the environment, compared to 75% of those staying in hotels and 79% of private rentals
  • Reducing plastics, recycling and energy saving initiatives rank in the top 10 most important factors for choosing where to stay
  • Two-thirds (65%) of hostel travellers more likely to stay in eco-friendly accommodation than five years ago

Sustainable travel is growing in demand, as nine in ten (92%) hostel travellers now consider themselves to be ‘green travellers’. However, the research also revealed the majority (63%) of travellers think travel companies should be doing more to help customers travel sustainably. To support this, Hostelworld has become a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative led by UN Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

According to the research commissioned by Hostelworld, the online booking platform focused on the hostel market, of over 3,000 travellers, the shift to a more climate conscious hostel guest will have a direct impact on booking decisions. As only 13% of travellers say they aren’t conscious of their impact on the environment, only 6% of hostel guests say they aren’t conscious of their impact on the environment, which is noticeably lower than those staying in hotels (14%) and private rentals (11%).

When asked what the most important factors were when selecting their hostel, it may come as no surprise to find cleanliness, price, location and facilities in the top five. Opportunities to give back to the local community was ranked fifth by hostel travellers, followed by accommodation that promotes the local culture and heritage and offers local food and drinks. Reducing single-use plastic, implementing energy/water saving measures and recycling initiatives also made it in the top 10, outranking aesthetic

The research revealed over half (56%) of all travellers and two-thirds (65%) of hostel guests are more likely to stay in ‘green’ accommodation than five years ago. Nine in ten (92%) hostel travellers also said they’d happily pay more to stay in accommodation that cares for the environment, compared to the average of 75% across other accommodation types. Australian hostel travellers are willing to pay on average AUD$24 more for environmentally friendly accommodation, with Brits willing to pay GBP£17 and Americans USD$24 more

This desire to be more environmentally friendly on their travels is also impacting where tourists choose to visit on their holidays. One in five (20%) travellers and 22% of hostel travellers admit they’re now avoiding destinations they know are experiencing over-tourism and a quarter (26%) of hostel travellers are preferring to choose destinations that are out of the ordinary. This eco-trend is also impacting which experiences travellers are choosing to partake in, with 25% refusing to support tours with animals
captured from the wild.

Gary Morrison, Chief Executive Officer at Hostelworld, said:

Now more than ever, sustainable travel is so important to help protect our planet for future generations. We’re pleased the research has found that travellers are taking sustainability more seriously and we’re proud that hostel guests are leading the way. We encourage our backpacking community to consider their impact on the environment and make choices to build a better world, wherever they may be.

At Hostelworld, we recognise we have a responsibility to both the environment and our customers to always be looking for ways to improve the service we offer. We’re therefore delighted to become a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative. We’re very proud to drive the change in the hostel industry alongside our partners and we must all continue working together towards a greener and more environmentally friendly future.

As part of their pledge to the initiative, Hostelworld will encourage its global hostel partners to commit to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, with participating hostels being highlighted across its platform to environmentally conscious travellers

Hostelworld will provide advice and guide hostels to better manage plastics, aiming to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025. There’s also a commitment to invest and increase recycling and composting rates for plastics.

Hostelworld continues to offer a wealth of environmentally friendly hostels available all around the globe. Find out more about Hostelworld’s commitment to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative here:

Find out more about BETA Members here