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Two-thirds of travelers prefer sustainability travel

A new report ranks Egypt fourth for sustainability performance compared to competing destinations

Two-thirds of travelers prefer sustainability travel
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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Sustainable tourism offers an estimated market opportunity of over $246 billion in the Middle East. At the same time, finding a long-term solution that doesn’t degrade the natural and cultural ecosystems and minimizes the negative effects of tourism is important. And as the climate and the ecological crisis deepen day by day, for many conscious travelers, sustainability is becoming a top priority for leisure holidays. 

Bain and Company’s report Sustainable Tourism: An Untapped Opportunity for Green Growth, found that 64% of respondents said that sustainability considerations impact their choices, with 66% willing to go the extra mile and pay an extra sum for more sustainable options. Similarly, 57% recorded that they would recommend a holiday destination based on sustainability offerings.

The survey also found that 73% expect sustainability to become more important over the next five years. This focus on green travel comes as tourism bounces back from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the sector expected to reach $17 trillion by 2027, compared to the $11 trillion before the pandemic.

“The uptake in sustainable tourism is driven by an appetite to travel sustainably and make more responsible choices,” said Karim Henain, partner at Bain & Company Middle East. Defining factors of sustainable tourism include environmental impact, social responsibility, and community engagement, he added. There is also pressure from environmental campaigners on the travel and tourism industries to reduce carbon emissions. 

The study investigated travelers’ behavior and preferences who see the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as their destination. The survey included consumers from Germany, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and China and found that sustainable enthusiasts are a significant regional segment.

Greece has ranked first as the ideal sustainable holiday destination, while Egypt ranked fourth. The report notes that even though Egypt has taken extensive measures for sustainability, it still has work to do. “Egypt has a significant opportunity to develop its sustainable tourism industry. If developed and positioned well, this will allow Egypt to tap into new tourist segments, expand the network of promoters for tourism in Egypt, and get a higher share of wallet.”

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