The luxury travel network Virtuoso has released the results of a survey highlighting how some of the world’s most discerning travellers view sustainable tourism.
The results indicate that travellers are mindful of their place and impact in the world, and this has led to what Virtuoso’s Vice-Chair and Sustainability Strategist Jessica Hall Upchurch calls “the conscious comeback” as travel re-opens in new and innovative ways.
Given the biggest concern regarding travel and sustainability before the pandemic was overtourism, the overwhelming majority of respondents said they would be willing to visit a popular destination during off-peak seasons or opt for an alternative, less crowded destination. One thing that nearly 70% of consumers agreed on is that traveling sustainably enhances the vacation experience. And the desire to explore the planet in a way that protects the places they love for future generations to come is strong, particularly among affluent consumers.
“This past year has led to travel’s great reset and one of the positive outcomes has been an awakening in terms of our greater responsibility to each other and to the planet. We’ve always felt that sustainability isn’t a trend – it’s a transformation – and there is a natural evolution that occurs in any movement that has a groundswell of support. We’ve seen the consumer mind-set move from basic awareness and a general sentiment of ‘someone should do something,’ to the notion of ‘I can and should do something.’ This renewed purpose coincides with the recognition of oneness that the pandemic has created, and it’s driving people to make different choices on their future travels than perhaps they did just over a year ago,” said Hall Upchurch.
The results of the survey are as follows
- Has the pandemic made you want to travel more responsibly in the future?
· 82% Yes
· 18% No
2. Which of the three pillars of sustainable travel do you feel most connected to?
· 72% All of the above.
· 10% Travel should support local communities and economies.
· 10% Travel should preserve a destination’s cultural heritage.
· 5% Travel should protect the planet.
· 3% None of the above.
3. When making vacation plans, do you feel it’s important to choose a hotel, cruise line, or travel company that has a strong sustainability policy?
· 50% Yes, it’s very important.
· 28% It’s somewhat important.
· 13% No, it hasn’t factored into my decision making.
· 9% I need more education on the topic first.
4. What would you be willing to do to help curb overtourism?
· 76% I’d visit a popular destination during an off-peak time of year.
· 69% I’d be OK traveling to an alternative, less-touristed destination.
· 13% I’d pay more to access a popular destination.
· 5% None of the above.
5. I believe that traveling sustainably enhances my vacation experience.
· 70% Agree
· 23% I don’t know.
· 7% Disagree
Photo – top of page – Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Sabah, Malaysia