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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.
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.”
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The research has found that:
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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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