Friday,  July 1, 2022  1:01 am

Affluent travellers will pay more for sustainable experiences: Virtuoso survey

  • Buzz
  •   06-16-2022  12:29 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Affluent travellers will pay more for sustainable experiences: Virtuoso survey
Pax Global Media

Amid the travel industry’s rebound, travellers remain ever conscious of their place and impact in the world, according to new survey results released by Virtuoso.

Assessing high-end travellers’ sentiment regarding purposeful travel, Virtuoso’s 2021 sustainability survey of both Canada and U.S. respondents found that more 80 per cent of respondents indicating that the pandemic has made them want to travel more responsibly in the future.

This figure echoes identical findings from a survey conducted last year, proving that travelling sustainably continues to be a top priority for luxury travellers.

Policies matter

Virtuoso’s 2021 sustainability survey also found that 78 per cent believed it’s important to choose travel companies that have a strong sustainability policy, moving them to seek out companies committed to Virtuoso’s three pillars of sustainability: protecting the planet, supporting local economies and celebrating cultures.

READ MORE: Consumers like the idea of sustainable travel, but many don't understand it, study says

In addition, 70 per cent agreed that travelling sustainably enhances their vacation experience, and 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-touristed destination to help combat over-tourism.

Affluent consumers reported that cost is less of a factor when planning to implement sustainable travel practices, but transparency is: 75 per cent of travellers are willing to pay more to travel responsibly if they know how the funds are being used.

Travel advisors matter

Travellers also expressed a strong desire for deeper knowledge and assistance with making more informed decisions around sustainable travel, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they would be encouraged to travel more responsibly if they had guidance from a trusted source, such as a professional travel advisor, who could help them determine where to begin.

“The pandemic has led to an interesting phenomenon, taking sustainable travel from afterthought to forethought for travellers who are now searching for more meaning in their lives, their actions and ultimately with their spend,” said Jessica Hall Upchurch, vice-chair and sustainability strategist “Travellers want to know that they, and their money, are making a difference. The pandemic disrupted the industry unlike anything before, but it also shifted priorities, resulting in a renewed commitment from travellers to safeguard the planet and each other.”

“This conscious comeback will continue to transform the way we travel, and it reaffirms our belief that travel can be a force for good.”

Additional findings from the 2022 sustainability survey are as follows:

Top five ways travellers support sustainable tourism:

1. Reduce food and plastic waste by bringing their own water bottle, carrying reusable bags, etc.

2. Support wildlife conservation

3. Travel during the off-season or to lesser-known destinations

4. Contribute to causes that benefit the destination and community they’re visiting

5. Support travel companies with a strong sustainability policy

Top five trips/destinations travellers associate with or prioritize for sustainable tourism:

1. Cultural tours (land-based)

2. River cruising

3. Heritage sites

4. African safaris and ocean cruising (tie)

5. Island destinations

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