Study: Responsible Travel Outpacing Overall Tourism Growth

by Marilee Crocker

Just in time for Earth Day, a new report concludes that responsible tourism is growing at a faster pace than the tourism industry as a whole.

In its annual Trends & Statistics report, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) cites numerous studies showing “sustained interest” among consumers in travel that helps to “protect the environment and bring tangible benefits to local communities.”

“Research studies continue to show that travelers prefer companies that embed green or eco-friendly practices into their operations,” CREST says. Today’s “new tourists” have a "higher level of environmental and cultural awareness," and they are both “more demanding” and “more able to influence” the products they consume, CREST reports.

Significantly, consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for brands that demonstrate social and environmental values.

Business travelers, travel suppliers, and destinations are increasingly attuned to the issues as well. In fact, the World Travel & Tourism Council has predicted that over the next 20 years the travel and tourism sector will fully integrate climate change and related issues into business strategy. CREST sees a growing “social and environmental imperative” for responsible travel, especially in light of worsening global inequality and climate change.

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