Sustainable Travel Index: Ramping Up Action for Positive Change

May 2023

The latest Sustainable Travel Index reveals that progress has been made, with Latin American destinations moving up the ranking whilst Europe dominates the leaderboard. The question is whether consumers will pay for sustainable travel features in times of a cost-of-living crisis and budgets under stress. Partnerships with green tech start-ups are natural next steps for travel brands and destinations looking how to achieve net zero emissions.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Moving on up

Europe continues to dominate the upper echelons of the Sustainable Travel Index in 2023. However, one Latin American destination – Uruguay – has entered the top 20, whilst other countries like Guatemala and Mexico made significant progress over 2017-2022, jumping up the ranking.

Willing to pay?

With sustainability often mistakenly deemed as more expensive, the golden question is whether consumers will put their hands in their pockets and pay for sustainable travel features and experiences. 79% said that they were willing to spend at least 10% more for eco-tourism and adventure travel in 2023, according to the Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey.

Flying the flag

 In terms of sustainable tourism demand, Australia, Iceland and New Zealand are the top three destinations. As long-haul destinations, Australia and New Zealand benefit from the high length of stay, whilst the latter flies the flag for regenerative tourism, going further and deeper than mere sustainability, leaving a positive legacy for generations to come aiming to give back.

Change in motion

Across travel and tourism, ever greater strides are being made to ensure a sustainable transition, with more playbooks and research being released. Of note are the recommended 12-point steps in the WTTC’s Hotel Basics for starters, whilst Envision 2030 points out that there is only one realistic pathway to follow for the sector that ensures growth and net zero.

Next-gen green tech

Green technology and digitalising the traveller journey are two sure-fire ways to help achieve the road to net zero which, as the IPCC says, is at risk of failure. Partnering with new start-ups in the green tech space would make sense to pave the way for a greener and cleaner travel future.


Introduction to the Sustainable Travel Index
Key findings
Europe leads the way in sustainable travel
Top destinations in the Sustainable Travel Index
Most improved performance dominated by Latin America
Melbourne strikes out as sustainable city leader
Travel sustainably but will consumers pay more?
Pillar 1: Environmental sustainability weightings
Big strides in environmental sustainability in Africa and Latin America
Croatia: Improving environmental stewardship makes its mark
Pillar 2: Social sustainability weightings
Europe leads in terms of social sustainability for a fair and just transition
Planeterra puts social impact at its heart for positive ripple effects
Pillar 3: Economic sustainability weightings
Qatar rides the wave of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to boost economic sustainability
Pillar 4: Risk weightings
European countries enjoy downgrades in risk, but more to do to protect biodiversity
Pillar 5: Sustainable tourism demand weightings
Building sustainable tourism demand through creating value and building resilience
4VI embraces a new social enterprise model for tourism
Pillar 6: Sustainable transport weightings
Europe stands out for sustainable transport with a focus on multi-modality
Heart Aerospace: Regional electric flights take off
Net zero airport: Schiphol aims for 2030 and shares its long-term vision
Pillar 7: Sustainable lodging weightings
Denmark heads out in front with eco-certification and organic food
Iberostar: Sharp focus on decarbonisation and nature-based solutions ahead of time
Latest IPCC report points to real risk of reaching irreversible tipping points
Envision 2030 points out that business as usual “doesn’t cut it”
WTTC elevates metrics with Hotel Sustainability Basics
Greater engagement from business required to drive sustainable development
Communities come first and resonate most with business and consumers
Protecting the blue economy
Financial cards encourage sustainable lifestyles
Evaneos : Working in partnership with local agents to drive sustainability
Call to action for sustainable travel
Shine a light on three focus areas
Sustainable Travel Index methodology
Evaluation and selection criteria
List of indicators 1
List of indicators 2
Index pillars and category weightings
Pillars #1 and #2
Pillars #3 and #4
Pillars #5 and #6
Pillar #7
Greenview CHSB data integration to the index
Geographical coverage
Full ranking


Travel encompasses several categories including tourism flows, lodging, travel modes, in-destination spending and booking.

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