03 Mar 2020, 13:53
Rachel Waldholz

Sustainable travel and 'flight shame' growing concerns for Germans - survey

Clean Energy Wire

A growing majority of German travelers say they are taking climate change and sustainability into account when planning vacations, according to a YouGov survey. 60 percent of German travelers say sustainability is a concern as they make vacation plans for 2020, a 5 percent increase from last year, according to YouGov’s “Sustainable Travel” study. 11 percent of respondents say sustainability is a decisive criterion in making their plans. YouGov reports a shift among age groups: last year Generation Z travelers (aged 18-24) were significantly more likely to report taking sustainability into account, with 69 percent of respondents saying it had an impact on their travel plans. But this year’s survey found that concern had increased among all age groups, with more than 60 percent of all travelers except millennials (age 25-39) saying sustainability played a role. 55 percent of respondents said they were prepared to pay more to make their travels more environmentally friendly. The survey looked at whether “flight shame” is affecting travelers’ behavior, and found that while most German travelers reported feeling no shame about flying, younger travelers seem more affected by the phenomenon. About a quarter of 18- to 39-year-olds reported being ashamed of using an airplane at some point, and almost a third (31 percent) of Germans said they avoided flying during their last holiday in order to travel more sustainably. Among travelers who were particularly concerned about sustainability, 54 percent said they avoided flying.

Aviation only accounts for a small share of Germany's total emissions but it is one of the fastest-growing greenhouse gas sources and passenger numbers are projected to grow rapidly over the next years. While the number of domestic flight connections in the country is poised to drop 7 percent in 2020, the total number of available seats this year will still be 9 percent higher than in 2016, according to the German Aviation Association (BDL). 

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