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Generation Z Leads the Way in Sustainable Travel

Conscious young adult travelers are seeking authentic, local experiences and sustainable practices.

By Amy Durham

Gen Z Travelers and Sustainability
Photo: JEShoots via Unsplash

As new travelers enter the corporate world, business travel is offering a new variety of options to cater to a younger generation. Generation Z is leading the way when it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly options, according to a report by Virtuoso® in their 2022 sustainability survey. While most travelers aren’t leaning heavily on these factors when choosing their travel details, meeting professionals are considering options that give these conscious travelers sustainable services and eco-friendly experiences.

Sustainable travel encompasses green practices, local experiences, and authentic connections with people along the way. Green practices in travel can include anything from eco-friendly event planning and product usage to electric commute options. It’s also important to over half of Gen Z and Millennial travelers that they participate in events and adventures that “preserve natural and cultural heritage,” according to the survey. About half of these people are also willing to pay more for companies or experiences that “adopt environmentally friendly philosophies and practices.”

To accommodate these choices, planners may look to off-season times of year when younger travelers can attend events at a lower cost to be both financially and culturally responsible. Over-tourism is impacting major cities around the world, and conscious travelers are prepared to do their part in discouraging this result by traveling in the off-season and going to less popular destinations. This means that planners can book events in smaller cities and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

One way to create a lower carbon footprint with travel is to shop local and enjoy local options when traveling. Meeting professionals are booking local vendors, enjoying location-specific team-building experiences, and catering with locally-sourced food. Keeping things local not only decreases the impact on the environment but it also has a positive effect on the local economy. As sustainability becomes a bigger consideration in booking events, the younger generations are choosing exciting and impactful new options.