The light footprint of modern consumers

Italy has made sustainability a priority for its travel and tourism industry

The country’s national tourism board (ENIT) shares its views on meeting travellers’ greener expectations ahead of ITB Berlin 2023

Part of the challenge, explains ENIT, is that sustainability touches upon a broad spectrum of behaviours, choices, activities, which are voluntarily or unconsciously shaped by a greener vision of individual and social life.

At the same time, these individual psychological and emotional drivers collectively create real identifiable trends, which can help inform and guide the travel and tourism industry’s sustainable approach.

Identifying these everyday behaviours sheds light on what choices consumers make while travelling or on holiday, for example in the quality of the products they eat, the sustainability of the accommodation they stay in and the tourism products and services they purchase.

How is travellers behaviour changing?

Economic uncertainty brought about by the pandemic has pushed consumers to look for ways of cutting back on their spending. Today, their focus is on value for money and getting higher returns from their investments.

This is accelerating the shift to buying fewer items, but buying the best

Consumers are also looking for alternative means to access products and services, save money or spread costs, rent and repair items, and purchase used products.

At the same time, consumers’ choices and purchasing decisions are increasingly being influenced by emotions and how well a product or service aligns with the buyers’ personal values ​​and priorities. Many people are willing to pay a premium to achieve this, especially in relation to health and safety, convenience, and environmental and social concerns.

What are travellers looking for?

Consumers are looking for innovative solutions that make them “the best they can be” while at the same time, making the world a better place. Therefore travel companies that provide a sense of community and offer real value will stand out, especially given that consumers have become more cautious and discerning about their purchases.

In 2022, the travel and tourism industry is expected to experience a strong rebound in consumer spending on hotels and restaurants, transport, leisure and recreational activities. Western Europe is expected to lead with the fastest growth in consumer spending, reflecting a recovery in the region’s consumer activity.

Current income trends include:

  • Global disposable income will achieve a real increase of 4.6% compared to 2021
  • Globally, people aged 60-64 will have the highest median gross income at US $18,394
  • The median disposable income of women globally is expected to reach US $6,984, 31% less than men’s income

Western Europe leads way with strongest growth in consumer spending

Western Europe is projected to be the region with the fastest growing consumer spending in 2022. As a region with low levels of income inequality, the middle class is expected to remain the largest and most important consumer base. However, when targeting the Western European middle class, travel companies need to bare in mind the shift to prudent and conscious consumption as a result of middle-income consumers’ efforts to augment their limited resources, growing awareness of environmental issues and the change of values.

When defining sustainable tourism targets, older consumer groups, with increasing numbers and relatively solid financial credentials, is another important segment. In 2022, Western Europeans over the age of 65 are expected to enjoy an average gross income of USD 47,866, an increase of 5.5% in real terms over the previous year.

To find out more about ENIT sustainable approach to tourism, visit them at ITB Berlin 2023, Hall 1.2, stands 107a, 107b and 107c.

For more news about ENIT at ITB, click here.

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