As Jane Ashton, then with First Choice, said in a newspaper interview back in 2006 “‘The product we sell is the people and environment – so we have an obvious interest in protecting them.” She went on: “‘We’re not experiencing a huge demand from the average consumer, but we do believe that awareness is increasing, and in a few years’ time we will have needed to have integrated these principles into our supply chain.”
Jane has, since 2011, been Director of Sustainable Development, for the TUI Group. TUI understand the consumer trends, all their source markets, and that holidaymakers and travellers expect the producer to ensure the sustainability of the products they sell. TUI, in common with a growing number of companies, understands that consumers expect more authentic travel experiences, closer engagements with people, their culture and their environment. Those closer encounters demand a more respectful, careful approach – the producer is expected to exercise more responsibility.
TUI’s latest research on the UK & Ireland market reveals the expectations of holidaymakers – like all market research these are aspirations, but they are aspirations which shape consumer decision making.
Latest research from TUI reports that…
- Nearly 50% of UK holidaymakers say ‘giving back’ to a holiday destination is important to them.
- The issues most likely to attract support from British tourists are hunger and food safety (27%), animal welfare (26%), cultural heritage conservation (22%), education and lifelong learning opportunities (18%).
- 62% of UK holidaymakers agree it makes them feel better when they know their holiday was organised with respect to nature and the local community.
- Sampling local cuisine, visiting local markets and neighbourhoods, shopping for souvenirs and taking a tour with a local guide were all regarded by 50% or more of UK holidaymakers as desirable.
The TUI market research can be accessed here.
Responsible Tourism is the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense as Jane understood years ago. It is because Responsible Tourism makes good business sense that it features in the programme at all the WTM trade shows. There are Responsible Tourism programmes at all three WTM shows in April. Details of the programmes are online: WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo 3-5 April; WTM Africa 18-20 April in Cape Town; April 22-25 Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.