Travelers’ Choice: The APAC Countries Highly Rated by Guests for Hotel Sustainability

Discover the APAC countries highly rated by guests for hotel sustainability, based on more than 56.9 million guest reviews.

The Rise of Sustainable Tourism in APAC

Over the last few years, sustainable tourism has gained significant momentum in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Travelers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their trips and are actively seeking accommodations that prioritize sustainability. This shift in consumer behavior has prompted hotels in APAC countries to adopt eco-friendly practices and invest in sustainable initiatives.

52% of APAC travelers say that sustainable tourism is very important to them.  

While there are certain practices that hotels can adopt to make their guests’ experience more environmentally friendly, this is just one piece of the puzzle in the tourism sustainability agenda. In the long run, implementing measures tackling the entire travel sector can bring the desired results.  

There is a way to go for APAC in terms of sustainability. Being one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (39% in 2019 compared to 35% in 2010), having a clear set of policies and actions at the regional and national levels is crucial. International organizations, including renowned tourism bodies, are now seeking ways to engage with authorities in designing comprehensive plans to decrease the carbon footprint, reduce water consumption and pollution, and improve air quality. 

Countries in APAC Highly Appreciated by Guests for Hotel Sustainability

TrustYou takes great pride in delivering valuable guest review insights to destinations and hotels to help them attract more visitors and enhance guest satisfaction.

To uncover the destinations with the most positive sustainability mentions, we analyzed over 56 million guest reviews from August 2021 to July 2023. This comprehensive analysis encompassed 51 APAC countries, ensuring a wide scope of data for our findings.

Apac Countries Highly Rated By Guests For Hotel Sustainability
Top 10 APAC countries highly appreciated by guests for their hotel sustainability efforts.

*Inclusion criteria: For this list, we looked at countries with at least 500 sustainability mentions between August 2021-July 2023 and the highest number of sustainability mentions per hotel per country.

When looking at this list, the question came up: what specific practices are these countries doing to be recognized and acknowledged for their sustainability efforts? China and India, for example, still have a long way to go sustainability-wise. However, even if there is still work to be done, it might be the very reason why guests notice and appreciate seeing various green initiatives being implemented.

Let’s explore the first four countries in our top 10 list and some of their efforts in promoting sustainable tourism: Sri Lanka, China, the Philippines, and India.

#1 Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including lush rainforests, serene beaches, and abundant wildlife. To preserve these natural treasures, the country’s Tourism Development Authority has launched a series of sustainable programs, including certification for accommodations, tour operators, and the MICE sector, to attest and encourage tourism providers in their preservation efforts. 

Sri Lanka works closely with UNDP to ensure sustainability is a key priority for the tourism sector. At the beginning of 2023, authorities launched the Sustainability Tourism Unit, specifically dedicated to launching green policies and strategies for the Tourism Sector. 

#2 China

It may come as a surprise to see China in a top spot dedicated to sustainability, considering the long-term pollution challenges the country faces. The latest data ranks China 25th in terms of air pollution. A recent McKinsey study shows that the accommodation sector is the largest contributor to carbon emissions in domestic tourism. 

On the other side, Chinese travelers, as major contributors to global and domestic tourism spending,  have become more aware of the importance of green practices. 62% admit they are worried about climate change, but only 20% are willing to pay an additional 2% to keep the carbon emissions neutral. 

In 2022, the Chinese government adopted the next Five-Year Tourism Development Plan. The strategy focused on strengthening the sector by promoting tourism as a way of discovering the Chinese cultural heritage and its natural parks. Regarding sustainability, authorities encourage the sector to focus on saving water and energy and build with greener materials in mind. 

There’s a lot of room for improvement – but we’re happy to see that the guests appreciate the efforts hotels make to offer a more sustainable experience. 

#3 Philippines

The country of 7000 islands has also started its path to offering more sustainable experiences for its travelers after being ranked 94th out of 99 countries in green tourism promotion. In fact, in 2018, the Philippines had to close Boracay Island for six months to rehabilitate it due to overtourism.   

Authorities started to actively create educational campaigns for travelers – among them being the Save Our Spots video. 

Regarding national initiatives, in 2021, the Department of Tourism revised its accreditation system for tourism providers, called DOT. Currently, it includes guidelines and specific actions to help accommodation units, agencies & other tourism enterprises to adopt sustainable practices.  

#4 India

India, with its rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes, continues its efforts to embrace sustainable tourism. 

In 2022, the government announced a few initiatives to prioritize sustainable tourism at the national level: The Strategies for Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism identify key areas for sustainable tourism development. Further, authorities have drafted criteria and indicators for the accommodation units and tour operators to help achieve a more sustainable sector. 

Overtourism is a major challenge for the Indian tourism sector and leaves traces on communities and natural habitats. Recently, the Indian authorities launched the Travel for Life campaign – an initiative to educate domestic travelers about options they could choose for more sustainable trips.  

What Are Guests Saying about Sustainability? 

What Apac Guests Are Saying About Sustainability
Some of the key sustainability aspects the APAC guests mention in reviews: environmentally friendly design, waste reduction systems, and eco-friendly cleaning options.

Guests appreciate hotels prioritizing energy efficiency through renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and sustainable building materials. They also valued accommodations with efficient water management systems and thoughtful landscaping incorporating native plants. 

Additionally, waste reduction systems, such as recycling programs and composting initiatives, also get positive mentions in reviews. Actively minimizing single-use plastics and encouraging guests to participate in sustainable practices throughout their stay will show your hotel’s commitment to a cleaner environment. 

Furthermore, guests appreciate hotels that offer eco-friendly cleaning options, such as using environmentally-friendly cleaning products and practices that reduce water consumption. 

These sustainable initiatives contribute to a more enjoyable and guilt-free guest experience, allowing travelers to make a positive impact while enjoying their stay.

How Guest Reviews Can Help Your Destination & Hotel Measure the Sustainability Impact 

Get insights into how sustainability impacts your visitors’ experience by looking at guest reviews. Using our analytics, you can monitor what your guests say about the eco-friendly and green initiatives you are implementing. This sentiment category that detects mentions of sustainability is available in multiple languages. You can have an overview of your waste reduction, energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable sourcing efforts. Additionally, hotels can monitor the Eco-Friendly hotel category to understand the impact of their environmental initiatives on the guest experience.  
Curious how guest reviews can help your destination or hotel attract more visitors and enhance guest satisfaction? Get in touch with our experts to learn more!