On May 31, 2023, Odalys Group* publishes its sustainable tourism barometer.

The study reveals a number of paradoxes among French travelers.

Almost simultaneously, Booking.com* publishes a study to understand the obstacles to the adoption of sustainable tourism.

This article will analyse these two studies. Then, to overcome the obstacles mentioned, it will propose 6 examples of slow tourism trips adapted to different profiles, as well as recommendations of resources for information.

*Survey conducted March 30 to April 07, 2023 by Madeinvote via Facebook and Instagram among 1,000 French people, aged 18 to 65, representative of the French population. *The study was carried out on a sample of 33,000 travelers in 35 countries and territories.

The paradoxes of sustainable tourism

Cars remain the preferred mode of transport

voiture frein au voyage durable

63% of respondents say that transport is the most important factor in sustainable travel, ahead of choice of accommodation, destination and activities. However, 54% of them say they continue to use their car. The car is still the most popular mode of transport when going on vacation, ahead of the plane (19%) and the train (13%).

French people still uninformed about sustainable tourism

Although almost one French person in two (46%) feels concerned by the challenges of sustainable tourism, the concept remains unclear for a majority of them.

However, more and more sustainable tourism accommodations and travel agencies are emerging. Paradoxically, French people still feel a real lack of information. 64% feel that the environmental actions of professionals are not sufficiently promoted.

Moreover, despite the growing awareness of the impact of tourism, 7 out of 10 respondents say they are not more inclined to adopt eco-responsible gestures on vacation than the rest of the year.


What are the barriers to sustainable tourism?

Sustainable travel is still too expensive

54% of respondents to the Booking study said that sustainable options are too expensive. Only 38% were willing to pay more for a sustainable certification.

Overall, the study reveals a growing interest in sustainable tourism, slowed by a limited buying power. A factor accentuated by the rising inflation. Sustainable travel is no longer a priority in the face of rising living costs.

The study also shows that 43% of travelers would like to benefit from economic incentives to help them afford sustainable travel.

voyage durable encore trop cher

Sustainable travel still too restrictive

Beyond the economic dimension, the report highlights other obstacles and preconceived ideas. 59% of respondents believe that there are not enough sustainable travel options, and 71% expect companies to offer more sustainable travel.

Sustainable travel is also seen as too complicated to organize. 44% of French travelers say they don’t know how to begin.. despite the growing emergence of platforms like Flockeo. This echoes the Odalys Group study on the lack of information.

In this respect, a group of journalists, communicators, editors and environmental experts, created in June 2023 Itinéraire Bis, a collective with the aim of helping journalists transform our travel imaginary. Itinéraire Bis offers the good tools to integrate the challenges of sustainable travel into the heart of editorial lines, thus putting the prescriptive power of journalism at the service of global social change.

To quote an article by philosopher Gaspard Koenig for Les Echos, and quoted by Jean-Marc Jancovici: “The only viable solution is not to restrict our desires, but to change them”.

We urgently need to reinvent tourism!

The local slow tourist: 

Léa and Lucie are 22 years old and live in Clermont-Ferrand for their studies. As students, they have a limited budget and few breaks. Finally, they realized that they didn’t really know that much about the Auvergne region. So they decided to go to Haute-Loire.

The program:

gorges de la loire
Loire gorges  ©Auvergne Slow
The sporty slow tourist 

Inès and Lucas, both 35, live near Angers and love to go to work by bike. This year, they’ve decided to embark on the adventure of traveling by bike! In France, as in Europe, there are so many cycle routes that it’s hard to choose!

For their first adventure, they chose an easy route close to home, following part of the Loire à Vélo, which links Nantes to Nevers.

Over a 3-day weekend, they cycle the 105 km from Angers to Nantes at their own rhythm. This flat itinerary is the perfect way to discover cycling.

They organize their trip with France Vélo Tourisme and the podcast Le Vert à Moitié Plein. They choose their accomodation with the Accueil Vélo label. During this weekend along the Loire, they pass through small and typical villages, vineyards and the wetlands of Anjou. They’ll also be able to enjoy a meal at one of the many guinguettes along the Loire! To get home, they take a regional train, a TER from the Pays de la Loire region.

They enjoyed the weekend so much that they decided to go even further! For their next adventure, they will try to connect Angers with Amsterdam, and will also return by train using Rome2Rio. To plan their routes, they use GPS applications specialized in cycling, such as Komoot and Mappy. They plan to sleep with Warmshowers, a free accommodation exchange system for cyclists around the world.

Carte de la Loire à Vélo
La Loire à Vélo  ©La Loire à Vélo
The working slow tourist

Myriam works in Toulouse. Her job allows her to work remotely. She wants to visit a friend who lives in Bergen, Norway, but doesn’t like the idea of flying.

On the one hand, by train, it would take her 3 days… that’s a round trip of almost a week! A long time!

On the other hand, it would have allowed her to cross 5 countries, and so 5, different cultures (France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway). That’s what she really wants!

She convinces her employer to let her work on the train by having him listen to an episode of Le Vert à Moitié Plein where four teleworkers talk about how they went to Norway by train from Toulouse too! To organize her trip, she uses the following platforms; Mollow, Hourrail and Rome2Rio .

As she is under 28, the Interrail pass offers very low fares – similar to the plane fares. The experience was a success! What she enjoyed most was understanding the changes in climate and biodiversity as she watched the landscapes unfold…It’s decided: her next getaways in Europe will be by train.

Voyage durable en train en Norvège
Rail travel in Norway  ©Flockeo
The walking slow tourist

Nadine and Fabrice are 45 and live in a small village in the Gard region of France. They love to go hiking in the Cévennes with their dog. They have long been tempted to follow Stevenson’s path…

What if they were to make this dream come true on their next vacation? They prepare their itinerary directly on the Stevenson Trail Association website, which also enables them to book accommodation along the route.

On the other hand, their daughter has been riding for several years… and would much prefer to go horseback riding! She then set off on an itinerary with Cavalquinta, the specialists in horse-riding itineraries in the Cévennes.

Voyage durable en itinérance dans les Cévennes
Cévennes, Thoiras, ©EliseCABANE
The marine slow tourist

Chloé and Hugo are passionate about the marine world and would like to sail to Corsica.

They’re hesitating… whether to hitchhike or take a more organized trip? If they want to keep things simple, they can go with Sailcoop, the first cooperative to offer commercial sailboat trips between the Côte d’Azur (Saint-Raphaël) and Calvi.

If they’re on a tighter budget, there are plenty of Facebook groups to organize boat hitchhiking.

Voyage durable en voilier
Slow tourism and microadventures

Pascal, 50, discovered the concept of microadventure on social media. It’s perfect because there are survival courses near his hometown! What if it was an opportunity to experience a different kind of weekend?

Microadventure is all about adventure… but not in the way you’d imagine! The practice was conceptualized by adventurer Alastair Humphreys in 2012 and is said to have the wonderful virtues of reenchanting our relationship with travel… allowing us to leave without really leaving…

It’s an overnight outdoor adventure that is “small and achievable, for normal people with real lives”

To find out more about microadventure and choose the course of your dreams, Pascal has the choice! Here are the microadventure specialists in France:

Making sustainable travel accessible… we’re on the right track!

chemin -canva

Starting with the obstacles to sustainable travel, the aim of this article was to show you different ways of traveling sustainably, in slow tourism and according to your profile.

If we can’t change the world, we can be part of a positive movement!

In our own small way, on our respective blogs and through the podcast Le Vert à Moitié Plein, we spotlight ideas, projects and personalities who are taking action for sustainable travel. The work is far from finished, but if through this collaboration between Auvergne Slow and Flockeo, we’ve been able to give you new ideas and help you discover new ways to travel, then it’s already a big step!