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Research Shows Number of Conscious Travellers on the Rise

Research Shows Number of Conscious Travellers on the Rise
Mae Kampong village in Thailand is known for its traditional homestays, Photo Credit: Ewelina Thepphaboot / Shutterstock
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New form of ‘conscious travel’ emerges as travellers look to positively contribute to communities

OT Staff
December 07 , 2021
04 Min Read

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of change in people’s perception of life, lifestyle and livelihood. For example, a recent survey has revealed that travellers are more actively focused on enabling positive experiences for the communities they visit. They are becoming more ‘conscious’ about their preferences, which, most believe, augurs well for the travel industry.

One of the worst hit sectors during the pandemic, the travel industry has been forced to reinvent itself. They have realised that to stay in business and flourish, it is necessary to focus on ‘inclusive’ growth, because tourism touches nearly every aspect of society. A view that was reiterated by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on World Tourism Day. He said, “The tourism sector touches almost every part of our economies and societies, enabling historically marginalised people and those at risk of being left behind to benefit from development that is local and direct.” You can know more about the World Tourism Day 2021 theme here.

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India is also seeing an emergence of the ‘conscious traveller’. A research by Economist Impact, commissioned by Airbnb, has revealed that 79 percent of Indian travellers want to travel in ways that positively benefit local communities both economically and socially.

Said Pratima Singh, Senior Manager for Policy and Insights at Economist Impact, “Following the pandemic, travellers are thinking more about the implications of their travel choices and decisions. We’re seeing a trend where people are attempting to make their travel decisions more sustainable—economically, culturally and environmentally—and hoping to have a more positive impact by benefiting local communities.”

Also Read: 10 Ways to Travel Green

The research has found that:

  • More than two-thirds of Indians said it’s important to them that they’re creating a positive impact for locals, with 58 percent saying it’s important that they’re not contributing to issues such as overtourism.
  • More than 60 percent of people in India are conscious that communities are in need of economic recovery and will factor this into where they travel and how they spend their money.
  • Nearly 67 percent of Indians said they’ll be more conscious when it comes to familiarising themselves with what’s important to the communities they’re visiting and how they can make a contribution.
  • Almost two-thirds of Indians placed importance on using travel as a way to meaningfully connect with communities and culture, with 60 percent believing it important that they immerse themselves in local communities.
  • Over 50 percent of Indian travellers said that technology-driven solutions can make the tourism industry more inclusive, by enabling a wider range of local stakeholders to benefit economically.

Also Read: 6 Green Learning Holidays to Go On

  • The research also highlighted how the change in perspective is presenting new opportunities for rural areas, particularly those in emerging economies, as travellers become more open to exploring new ways of travelling and living.
  • 69 percent of travellers are willing to a pay a premium for an experience that supports sustainable tourism practices.
  • 68 percent say that they are willing to forego comforts and luxuries on a holiday if their actions can support sustainable tourism outcomes with 64 percent prepared to avoid holiday destinations that are faced with sustainability challenges.
  • More than 56 percent of people are planning to engage in more domestic travel than in the past, with the aim of allocating more of their travel budget to destinations within their own country.

Also Read: Google Will Help Travellers Find Sustainable Options

The study also examined attitudes towards holistically sustainable travel that encompasses social, economic, cultural, community and environmental aspects. Creating equitable outcomes and income for locals emerged, as well as engaging with new social experiences and meaningful connections, emerged as the top two most important aspects of sustainable travel for those surveyed.

According to Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager - Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, “People are increasingly becoming more thoughtful and deliberate about the ways they can use travel to make a positive contribution to the communities they are visiting. We’re seeing the rise of a new form of ‘conscious travel’ that will benefit communities across India in new ways."

Note: Economist Impact, part of The Economist Group, surveyed more than 4,582 travellers across nine countries – Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand – for this research, which was conducted and completed in October 2021


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