46% of travel companies to increase ESG investment in 2024
Wednesday, 20th December 2023
Source : Amadeus

Research reveals how organizations are increasingly embedding environmental and social sustainability initiatives across the travel industry.

ESG decision makers call for increased investment, more widespread technology adoption and C-suite buy-in.

As delegates return from COP28 in Dubai, the world’s attention is focused on the actions needed to foster a more sustainable world.

Alongside global targets, travelers are increasingly demanding that travel experiences align with their values and expectations when it comes to sustainability.

Against this backdrop, Amadeus commissioned research among 896 senior sustainability decision makers across nine markets and seven segments of the travel industry to gain insight on ESG ambitions, priorities, and challenges.

The study revealed optimism for the global travel industry about hitting the UNWTO-proposed goal to reach net zero by 2050. 89% of ESG decision makers believe the industry can reach its target.

Of that 89%, 36% believe it is possible to reach without any adjustments, while 53% believe it is possible, but progress needs to be accelerated urgently.

Key to this is a focus on action. 90% of those surveyed have a step-by-step strategy in place to help them achieve environmental sustainability objectives or are planning to implement one in 2024.

94% of respondents are either currently active or plan to be actively involved in social sustainability initiatives that impact beyond their organization.

This commitment was matched by increased investment, with 46% of respondents anticipating investing more in 2024 than last year.

Despite the optimism, the study identified barriers to delivering on environment, social and governance initiatives:

  • 40% cited cost as the biggest barrier for environmental commitments, followed by lack of technology and knowledge (30%) as well as C-suite buy-in (25%).
  • For social initiatives, the biggest barriers include lack of technology (32%), cost (31%), lack of knowledge (28%) and C-suite buy-in (27%).
  • For governance initiatives, the barriers highlighted include lack of knowledge (31%), cost (31%), lack of technology (29%) and C-suite buy-in (25%).

Notably, the study highlighted a clear and recognized role for technology to help the industry reach its ambitions. 92% of respondents indicated technology is important to help organizations achieve environmental sustainability objectives, with 91% saying the same for social objectives.

Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality were particularly important:

  • 33% of respondents highlighted generative AI initiatives as the technology with the highest potential to accelerate environmental sustainability as it can guide travelers to more sustainable options across the traveler journey.
  • 31% said technologies that generate operational efficiency improvements as well as access to data for true personalization would be important.
  • 38% said they can help to drive social progress by improving access to travel through integrated accessibility technology on public transport, at the airport or on a flight.

Ultimately, there is work still to be done for the industry to deliver on its sustainability ambitions; 37% of ESG decision makers recognized that more access to technological solutions is needed. Those that felt it was unlikely they would meet their targets within the timeframe set highlighted the need for further collaboration across the industry (33%).

“As the travel industry continues to navigate the complexity of delivering on ESG targets, I’m encouraged by the optimism and the commitments being put in place – from investments to strategic planning to technological solutions. At Amadeus, we’re working to embed ESG at the core of our business, supporting travel players on their journey to becoming more efficient and enabling travelers to make more informed choices. Together, we can make travel more sustainable,” says Jackson Pek, SVP and Group General Counsel, Amadeus.


54% of airlines are increasing their investment in ESG initiatives. They recognize that technology can play an important role in reaching net zero goals. The top ESG priorities for airlines are:

  • Sustainability and social impact of the travel and tourism industry – 33%
  • Sustainability education and capacity-building of employees – 30%
  • Sustainable food sourcing and food waste – 27%

Technology could also help travelers make better social choices, by providing customers with tools and access to information related to the social impact when booking a flight. For airlines, virtual or augmented reality (37%) and generative AI interfaces (36%) are cited as technologies that could have the biggest impact on accelerating the achievement of environmental objectives. 47% believe technology will improve access to travel through integrated accessibility technology while traveling.

When investing, decarbonization and reducing environmental impact is a key focus with airlines concentrating on the following areas*:

  • Operational efficiency improvements – 54%
  • Development of new aircraft technology – 48%
  • Improvements to existing aircraft technology – 44%
  • Carbon offsetting and other climate solutions – 37%
  • Carbon capture and storage technologies – 34%
  • Sustainable aviation fuel – 28%


43% of large companies plan to spend more on meeting ESG objectives than they did in 2022. The top ESG priorities for large companies are:

  • Creating a sustainability plan / roadmap for the entire company – 22%
  • Energy reduction – 21%
  • Health, safety and wellbeing – 21%
  • Reducing carbon emissions – 20%

Technology is seen by ESG decision makers to have the potential to help the industry meet sustainability targets, especially those that help to transition to low carbon energy (36%), generative AI interfaces that can guide travelers to more sustainable travel options at every stage of the journey (34%) and technologies that help develop more alternative sustainable fuels (30%).

Offering employees sustainable business travel options is an important objective for corporations, but respondents recognize there are obstacles to overcome, mainly the lack of transparency for employees around travel and expense policies (38%), lack of clarity on sustainability objectives (38%), and the increased costs that may come as a result (36%).


52% of hotels have a step-by-step plan in place to achieve targets. The top ESG priorities for hotels:

  • Energy reduction – 28%
  • Health, safety and wellbeing – 28%
  • Responsible water management – 26%

Technology that generates operational efficiencies (36% of respondents selected) and enables access to data to achieve personalization (30% selected) have the biggest potential to impact environmental sustainability. 34% of ESG decision makers think technology that provides tools to offer travelers the option to make more conscious choices will have the biggest impact on social sustainability.

Hotels are optimistic, but 38% are concerned about meeting specific environmental standards of facilities, and 36% say they need support to meet energy efficiency improvements.


For DMOs (Destination Management Organizations), 47% believe technology will improve access to travel through integrated accessibility technology while traveling.

The top ESG priorities for DMOs are:

  • Creating a sustainability plan / roadmap for the entire company – 22%
  • Energy reduction – 21%
  • Health, safety and wellbeing – 21%

Two fifths (40%) of DMOs ESG decision makers believe generative AI interfaces to guide travelers to more sustainable options will help to accelerate reaching environmental objectives. One third (33%) said more advanced search capabilities allowing travelers to understand the environmental impact of their travel also has potential to make an impact.


84% of mobility providers have seen an increase in demand for more sustainability in their products and services since 2020.

The top ESG priorities for mobility providers are:

  • Sustainability education and capacity-building of employees – 34%
  • Sustainability and social impact of the travel and tourism industry – 31%
  • Community engagement / corporate philanthropy / corporate volunteering – 26%

The key challenges faced by mobility providers include lack of collaboration with other industries to provide more sustainable travel options, and lack of awareness and evidence on environmental and social impact, alongside lack of financial resources and investment in sustainability initiatives.


Airports are increasing focus on ESG as 47% plan on investing more in ESG initiatives in 2024 than they did in 2022, and a similar number (46%) plan to spend the same.

Airports are taking concrete measures to address ESG with nearly half of airports stating they have a step-by-step plan in place with an additional 45% planning to implement one.

98% said technology will play an important role in helping the industry meet sustainability targets. Regarding the technologies that can have the biggest impact:

  • 49% selected technologies that help with more sustainable procurement and sourcing. This is particularly relevant considering the diverse ecosystem in the airport space that ranges from aviation to retail and food and beverage providers.
  • 36% said technologies that generate operational efficiency improvements, reflecting the central role airports play in aviation’s complex operations.
  • 34% selected technologies that help develop more alternative sustainable fuels.
  • 33% said generative AI interfaces that can help guide travelers to more sustainable travel options at every stage of the journey and in destination, reflecting the industry’s interest in innovative technologies.

When it comes to social sustainability, 40% said that travel technology will improve accessibility. Despite the positivity, 44% stated that clarity on financing and budgets as well as the same percentage for C-suite buy-in is needed for airports to meet targets.


46% of travel sellers have a step-by-step plan in place and 39% plan to implement one. The top ESG priorities for travel sellers are:

  • Sustainability and social impact of the travel and tourism industry (25%)
  • Health, safety and wellbeing of employees (24%)
  • Employee development, learning and growth (21%)

93% of travel seller ESG decision-makers believe technology will be important in achieving their goals.

Generative AI interfaces, access to data to personalize all stages of a journey and advanced search capabilities were selected by 33% as the technologies with the biggest potential to accelerate reaching targets toward environmental sustainability. Within this, business travel agencies were more receptive to generative AI (selected by 37%) than leisure travel agencies (28%). When it comes to social sustainability, 39% said technology will improve access to travel through integrated technology when travelling.

While travel sellers are optimistic, more guidance on standards across regions (selected by 45%), sustainability-related regulations (40%) and carbon emission calculation methodologies (39%) is needed.

The survey was conducted from September to October 2023 by strategic insight company Opinium Research. The findings are based on 896 senior decision makers responsible for sustainability and ESG across travel sellers, hotels, mobility companies, airports, airlines, DMOs and corporations in markets including Australia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, the UK, and the US.

*Respondents could select all that apply from a list of eight options.

Amadeus makes the experience of travel better for everyone, everywhere by inspiring innovation, partnerships and responsibility to people, places and planet.

Our technology powers the travel and tourism industry. Inspiring more open ways of working. More connected ways of thinking, centered around the traveler. Our open platform connects the global travel and hospitality ecosystem. From startups to big industry players and governments too. Together, redesigning the travel of tomorrow.

We are working to make travel a force for social and environmental good. A collective responsibility to protect and improve the people and places we visit, ensuring travel continues to make a positive contribution to our world.
We apply innovation to meet new needs, to solve real challenges. Our truly diverse global workforce, made up of 150 nationalities, is passionate about travel and technology.

We are an IBEX 35 company, listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange under AMS.MC. We have also been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last 11 years.

Amadeus. It’s how travel works better.


 Latest News  (Click title to read article)

 Latest Articles  (Click title to read)

 Most Read Articles  (Click title to read)

~ Important Notice ~
Articles appearing on 4Hoteliers contain copyright material. They are meant for your personal use and may not be reproduced or redistributed. While 4Hoteliers makes every effort to ensure accuracy, we can not be held responsible for the content nor the views expressed, which may not necessarily be those of either the original author or 4Hoteliers or its agents.
© Copyright 4Hoteliers 2001-2024 ~ unless stated otherwise, all rights reserved.
You can read more about 4Hoteliers and our company here
Use of this web site is subject to our
terms & conditions of service and privacy policy