On July 10, Booking.com Japan announced the results of the 2023 edition of the “Sustainable Travel” survey. It is a compilation of the original survey of more than 33,000 travelers in 35 countries and regions, and a press briefing was held in Tokyo that day.
According to Olivia John, Regional Manager Eastern Japan, 76% of travelers globally (vs. 56% in Japan) say they want sustainable travel, while 49% (vs. 43% in Japan) say they want sustainable travel. The cost is too high,” while 43% (22%) said they would be willing to pay extra for certified sustainable travel.
To meet these needs in an easy-to-understand manner, the company has developed a certification system called the “Sustainable Travel” program. Booking.com awards badges to properties that meet 32 certifications, including reducing waste, reducing energy and greenhouse gases, protecting nature, conserving water and supporting local communities. By earning a badge, not only can you clearly express your sustainability efforts when searching for accommodation facilities, but you can also narrow down the applicable accommodations.
At the beginning of the plan, all 32 items were required to be cleared, but now it is said that there are three levels of customs clearance according to the specific conditions of the accommodation facility and the country.
As a concrete example of this project, I introduce the case of Toyoko Inn, one of the largest business hotel chains in Japan. Toyoko Inn has more than 300 facilities across the country, with more than 70,000 guest rooms, and the number is said to be tons.
Toyoko Inn is actively carrying out recycling work. Currently, the collected waste plastics are remade into toothbrush boxes and provided to users, and trays are also made. But from the perspective of cost alone, it is actually a very high burden, and the recycling of collected waste plastic materials cannot keep up with it, and it is constantly accumulating. He explained that he will continue to work on this, saying: “We are in the labor pains right now.”
In addition, taking advantage of the characteristics of 100% recyclable aluminum, we sell carbonated water with aluminum bottles instead of plastic bottles, recycle old uniforms into fiberboards, and make them into wall clocks and interior decorations.
Additionally, as part of these efforts, the amount of plastic items collected is disclosed monthly and reported on guest room televisions. Mr. Nakazawa explained the significance of this, saying, “By visualizing it, I want users to think it’s their business.”
In addition to these efforts, Akemi Takemura, Regional Director for North Asia at Booking.com Japan, said searches for domestic destinations have increased not only in Japan but globally in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The survey results also showed this. This trend is increasing from 2022, and the focus on nearby mobility is expected to increase in the coming years. For Japanese, “nearby” refers to Japan and North Asia (the company defines Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau).
In terms of inbound tourists, Japan currently ranks 5th in the company’s global popular search rankings, following London, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona, a substantial increase (468.31%) from the 68th place in the same period in 2022. Furthermore, according to Takemura’s research, searches from South Korea to Japan have increased by 2,000% compared to the previous year, and these figures clearly show that the world’s attention to Japan is increasing.