ESG: the most pressing issue facing tourism industry today, says to new research

ESG: the most pressing issue facing tourism industry today, says to new research

New laws and market demand is calling for greater transparency of policies

Environment, social and governance (ESG) policies, the impact of Covid-19 and geopolitics are the issues most commonly raised by tourism companies so far in 2022, indicating that these are the most pressing problems that the tourism industry is currently facing.

According to GlobalData’s filing analytics, ESG is the most mentioned topic, totalling nearly 14,000 mentions in 2022 (as of 28 July 2022), highlighting its importance.

Commenting on the findings, GlobalData Travel and Tourism analyst Hannah Free said: “EU law requires many large-scale companies to disclose information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental challenges. 

"Many travellers now also demand greater transparency from companies and are increasingly wary of greenwashing attempts. This level of scrutiny from lawmakers and consumers has forced travel companies of all sizes to put ESG matters at the core of their operations.”

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GlobalData’s analytics database shows that mentions of ‘Geopolitics’ peaked in March 2022, with 2,562 mentions in that month alone, an increase of 338% from the previous month. This will have come as many companies reacted to the Russia-Ukraine situation. 

However, the ongoing conflict has had a limited impact on travel companies and tourism demand within Europe. 

A recent European Travel Commission survey showed that approximately 44% of European respondents stated that the conflict did not affect their holiday plans at all and only 4% completely cancelled their trip. 

While travel demand is likely to prevail, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has triggered high inflation.


Covid-19 has remained a key theme with more than 3,000 mentions so far in 2022. However, from January to June 2022, Covid-19 mentions declined by 54%, suggesting that the theme is slowly losing momentum. 

Concurrently, a GlobalData poll revealed that 53% of global respondents are ‘not concerned’ or are ‘not very concerned’ about the spread of Covid-19, amid easing travel restrictions and rising vaccination rates.

Free added: “While Covid-19 is likely to remain a feature in company filings for the foreseeable future, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic as GlobalData forecasts that international departures from European countries will increase by 125% from 2021 to 2022. Tourism companies that are able to successfully navigate these themes through investment, management and strategy will remain or emerge as industry leaders.”

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