Responsible Tourism and the Market in 2019

Responsible Tourism and the Market in 2019

Over the last twenty years there has been a marked change in the significance of the European source markets. While there is a global market for travel and tourism there are still clear differences between different source markets. Booking.com has undertaken a survey of travellers from 29 source markets.

In August last year, Booking.com surveyed 21.500 people who had taken a trip or who were planning one in the next 12 months, including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 500 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel. For once we have global data on travel preferences.

The continued growth in experiential travel globally with 60% of respondents valuing experiences over possessions “travelers packing in many different and authentic experiences, from where they eat and sleep to how they shop or watch their favorite sports game with an emphasis on creating moments that will bring us joy and comfort long after the fact.”

Booking.com’s survey evidence suggests that, globally, travellers are increasingly disposed to take some responsibility for their environmental impacts. 86% say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with over a third (37%) say that that they are willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction. These are aspirations and doubtless aspirations generated by wanting to feel good about themselves and to be seen as virtuous.

Travellers want to travel with a clear conscience. Almost half (49%) consider social issues in possible travel destinations are of real importance when choosing where to go and over half (58%) choose not to go to a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the people who live there.

Earlier research by Booking.com in 12 source markets in February and March 2018 found that 87% of global travellers say they want to travel sustainably, and nearly four in 10 (39%) say they often or always manage to do so. However, 48% said that they never, rarely or only sometimes manage to travel sustainably. As booking.com points out, this suggests “that while promising strides are being made for a greener future, there is still plenty of room to turn intentions into action.” Sustainability is the aspiration; it is an opportunity.

Over half of the August 2018 sample (53%) were planning to take more weekend trips in 2019, many of them by air – not such good news from a Responsible Tourism perspective.

In India there is growing evidence of the growth in consumer aspirations in ways that favour Responsible Tourism. The Press Trust of India reports that RT will gain ground in 2019. Cox and Kings Group CEO Peter Kerkar told them that “This year we will see a spurt in the number of responsible travellers demanding for sensitive travel packages as well as sustainable operators to ensure a guilt-free tour. They will take the centre stage in 2019…” Ritu Mehrota India’s Booking.com country manager for India, said “Reflecting increased global interest in social issues such as human rights, equality and working conditions, 2019 will see the rise of a more conscious traveller, who will ask more questions around social, political and environmental issues in potential travel destinations before deciding on where to visit.” “Almost 69 per cent of Indian travellers take social issues into account when choosing a holiday destination, while 70 per cent of them choose not to travel to a destination if they feel it will have a negative effect on the people who live there, according to Booking.com data.”

Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracts 2000 participants each year and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Ireland. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.

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