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New Report: Promoting a Sustainable Future for China’s Travel Industry

PRNewswire March 15, 2023

Trip.com Group, together with Accor and McKinsey, launches whitepaper on sustainable travel in China and sets out series of industry and consumer recommendations

SHANGHAI, March 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Trip.com Group, a leading global travel service provider, in partnership with Accor, a world-leading hospitality group, and global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, today published a new educational whitepaper that examines the environmental impact of China’s tourism sector, analyses Chinese travelers’ sentiment towards sustainability and ultimately sets out actions key stakeholders in China’s tourism sector need to take to foster sustainable travel. The pioneering survey identifies a series of sustainable changes that ought to be made, from the everyday to the systemic, which can support the travel and hospitality of tomorrow with the intention of becoming an informative industry reference tool for change. The report, entitled “The path toward eco-friendly travel in China, proposes that by adopting a set of collaborative measures across the industry value chain, from guests to major global providers, China’s tourism sector could move toward a more sustainable future.

(PRNewsfoto/Trip.com Group)


(From left to right: Mr. Jean-Jacques Morin, Group Deputy CEO, Group CFO and Premium, Midscale & Economy Division CEO, Accor; Mr. Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor; Mr. Gary Rosen, CEO, Accor Greater China; Ray Chen, SVP of Trip.com Group, CEO of Accommodation Business Group; Ms. Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group; Mr. Li Binghua, Division Director, Market Management Office, Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism; Mr. Jonathan Woetzel, Director of McKinsey Global Institute, Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company; Mr. Steve Saxon, Partner of McKinsey & Company) (PRNewsfoto/Trip.com Group)

The world is facing an unprecedented sustainability challenge and the Chinese tourism industry has a significant role in the required transformation of hospitality. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, China is expected to have the world’s largest tourism market by 2032 and, prior to the pandemic, was already one of the biggest global markets. Analysis for the whitepaper found the environmental impact of China’s travel industry is substantial: tourism represented approximately 6-8% of China’s total carbon emissions in 2019.

Data from McKinsey found that Chinese travelers are engaged about their environmental impact and are starting to seek out sustainable alternatives, but the report found they may need more help understanding where to look. Trip.com Group found that 85% of Chinese travelers rate travel sustainability as important or very important, while 60% are concerned about climate change. However, the paper found, at the same time, that Chinese consumers are not yet used to the idea of paying extra for sustainable travel. As such, it is important to provide travelers guidance regarding sustainability costs, highlighting the industries’ efforts to improve provision of sustainable offerings. This will increase willingness to pay by showing the burden to be shared and that price rises will only be short-term.

In response to this, the report provides guidance on the actions that travelers can take to travel sustainably and to empower their own consumer decisions, including booking sustainable travel options with certified service providers, spending more time in one destination, and cultivating sustainable habits such as changing towels or bed linen less frequently and refusing to use single-use plastics in guest experience. Traveler behavior is just the first consideration the report highlights. Long-term sustainability will be achieved in tandem with initiatives from tourism providers, who hold a responsibility to inspire travelers’ mindset.

The whitepaper sets out a series of suggestions for the hospitality industry to support the Chinese traveler in their understanding of sustainable travel, inspire behavioural change and ultimately support the sector’s journey towards a net positive model, one which gives more than it takes. Such recommendations include using technology platforms to make sustainable travel options more visible online, using labelling to ensure travelers are informed on the environmental impact of their actions, providing incentives to encourage sustainable behavior, and training employees to adopt a sustainability mindset.

While greater traveler awareness and willingness to choose sustainable options combined with tourism providers’ individual adoption of more sustainable practices can help China’s travel sector realize “quick-wins” in sustainable impact, lasting sustainability improvements require collective industry-wide effort. The report concludes as a call to action for the hospitality industry to work together hand in hand to achieve sustainable transformation in China. This collaborative project is a starting point for this collective mindset, as a resource which can be used by guests and industry players alike in a united effort for positive change.

At a press conference held at the iconic Fairmont Peace hotel in Shanghai, to launch the report, top executives from Accor, Trip.com Group, and McKinsey & Company shared their perspectives on sustainable travel in China.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO Accor, said: “People and sustainability are at the heart of everything we do. When it comes to sustainability there are no individuals, only collectives, and this paper represents a major step-forward for this collaborative industry approach. Impactful change cannot be made alone; transformation happens together. Traveling across China and around the world responsibly can connect people and Accor is proud to lead this collective journey, supporting local communities, protecting biodiversity, as well as sharing and engaging in more sustainable habits. Sustainability is crucial and we have been so pleased to work with our strategic partner Trip.com Group and trusted advisor and counselor McKinsey on this meaningful sustainability-focused White Paper to continue to drive positive change for our guests, talents and partners.”

Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, said: “We are thrilled to be leading the charge for sustainable travel and promoting responsible tourism practices in the industry. Our commitment to harmonious coexistence between people and nature has driven us to implement green and environmental protection practices, such as our ‘Green Tourism Goals’, which has already reached millions of global tourists. By collaborating with strategic partners, including Accor and McKinsey & Company, we aim to integrate the social and commercial value of green and environmental protection, creating new business growth opportunities for partners. Our goal is to pave the way for a more sustainable and responsible travel industry.”

Jonathan Woetzel, Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company and Director of McKinsey Global Institute, said: “The Chinese tourism industry is large enough to take the lead in advancing the sustainability agenda. As travelers resume their adventures, each step of their journey presents opportunities to make choices and take concrete actions that could immediately reduce their environmental footprint. But the burden is not on the traveler alone. Long-term change calls for collaboration between actors across the entire travel industry, from hotels and travel agencies to green investors and technology suppliers.”

Download “The path toward eco-friendly travel in China– joint research in travel sustainability in China HERE.

About Trip.com Group

Trip.com Group is a leading global travel service provider comprising of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group helps travellers around the world make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services and enables partners to connect their offerings with users through the aggregation of comprehensive travel-related content and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of apps, websites and 24/7 customer service centers. Founded in 1999 and listed on NASDAQ in 2003 and HKEX in 2021, Trip.com Group has become one of the best-known travel groups in the world, with the mission “to pursue the perfect trip for a better world”. Find out more about Trip.com Group here: https://group.trip.com/

About Accor

Accor is a world leading hospitality group offering experiences across more than 110 countries in 5 400 properties, 10 000 food & beverage venues, wellness facilities or flexible workspaces. The Group has one of the industry’s most diverse hospitality ecosystems, encompassing more than 40 hotel brands from luxury to economy, as well as Lifestyle with Ennismore. Accor is committed to taking positive action in terms of business ethics & integrity, responsible tourism, sustainable development, community outreach, and diversity & inclusion.  Founded in 1967, Accor SA is headquartered in France and publicly listed on Euronext Paris (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and on the OTC Market (Ticker: ACCYY) in the United States. For more information, please visit www.group.accor.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.  

Accor, towards net positive hospitality

Accor was the first hospitality Group to set an ambitious science-based emissions reduction target: -46% absolute emissions by 2030 compared to the 2019 base year, validated by the SBTi; with an ultimate goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050. To date, 84% of hotels in the Accor network have also successfully removed 46 types of single use plastics in their guest experience and 97% of employees at a HQ level have completed the “School for Change” training to embed an ESG approach in every aspect of Accor business strategy and operations.

About McKinsey & Company

McKinsey is a global management consulting firm committed to helping organizations realize sustainable, inclusive growth. We work with clients across the private, public, and social sectors to solve complex problems and create positive change for all their stakeholders. We combine bold strategies and transformative technologies to help organizations innovate more sustainably, achieve lasting gains in performance, and build workforces that will thrive for this generation and the next.

Today we have more than 1,400 partners, consultants, and professional support staff located across six locations in China: Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Taipei. Learn more about McKinsey Greater China at www.mckinsey.com/cn


SOURCE Trip.com Group

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