UAE travellers want sustainable trips but cost is a barrier, survey finds

Ninety per cent of holidaymakers are planning sustainable travel in the next 12 months

Holidaymakers in the UAE want to travel more sustainably, but the cost of green travel is prohibitive for many, says Photo: Patrick Schneider / Unsplash
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A new study has revealed how important sustainable travel is to UAE holidaymakers, while highlighting the dilemma faced by travellers trying to balance eco-friendly trips and affordability.

More than 90 per cent of UAE travellers want to travel more sustainability this year, according to the latest research from online travel agency

More than three quarters of those polled recognise the need for making more sustainable choices when it comes to travel. But the cost of greener travel is prohibitive for many travellers, according to 56 per cent of respondents who said sustainable options were too expensive.

The cost-of-living crisis is also having an impact on travellers' choices, with 44 per cent of those questioned citing the quandary of balancing more responsible travel and the demands of everyday life.

Of those polled, 54 per cent are willing to pay extra for sustainably certified options.

Gathering data from more than 33,000 travellers across 35 destinations, including 500 from the UAE,'s latest research shows holidaymakers are having to choose between cutting costs and being more mindful about travel plans.

“While travel may be back, climate anxiety has led to greater demand for more budget and planet-friendly options,” said Carlo Olejniczak, vice president and managing director of, Europe, Middle East and Africa, on day one of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

“Travel can be a force for good and travellers themselves are proving to be today’s changemakers, adopting more sustainable travel habits and seeking responsible experiences. More sustainable travel is an investment for the world, and we are committed to making it easier for everyone to experience travel in a more mindful and responsible way, no matter where they are on their sustainability journey.”

UAE travellers embracing eco-travel via off-peak trips and public transport

According to’s latest research, 93 per cent of UAE respondents confirmed sustainability features in their travel plans, with increasing efforts to make trips greener, while nearly two thirds of UAE travellers aim to leave places they visit in a better state than when they arrived.

More than three quarters of travellers turn off lights and appliances in hotel rooms when leaving and half carry their own refillable water bottles. However, only 36 per cent of those questioned recycle rubbish when travelling.

Greener transport is another consideration for holidaymakers, with 38 per cent of UAE travellers planning sightseeing that allows them to walk, cycle or use public transport. A further 36 per cent opt to visit destinations off-peak, to avoid overcrowding in destinations.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents say there are not enough sustainable options available, and visibility is another issue, with 42 per cent unsure of where to find sustainable options. is adding new sustainable tools for travellers. The travel agency already highlights sustainable accommodation options and identifies electric transport choices for travel within destinations. Users can compare CO2 emissions for different flight options and new tools will soon allow travellers to see where particular airlines are offering lower-emission flights to their destination of choice.

Updated: May 01, 2023, 12:00 PM