Skift Take

Consumer tastes are continuing to shift towards sustainability, authenticity and wellness, according to Expedia Group's latest global survey. The opportunity is ripe this year for tourism to tap into this steady transformation and drive change alongside economic recovery.

In a world of travel stop-and-starts, consumer minds and behaviors continue to shift along with the uncertainty. But what’s holding steady since last summer: traveler interest in sustainable trips. That’s according to Expedia Group’s latest Traveler Value Index survey of 5,500 global travelers, released on Thursday, which offers the first glimpse of where travelers’ tendencies lie as a new year kicks off and international tourism starts making its way back.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed or 59 percent indicate they are willing to spend more to make a trip sustainable, according to Expedia’s data — on par with results from last summer. This conscious consumer cohort is not only seeking to minimize environmental impact, but also paying attention to destinations that are overcrowded — almost half of respondents said they would choose less crowded places to visit to avoid contributing to overtourism. 

As a result, the report recommends travel companies boost their commitment to sustainability and expand on eco-friendly trip options.

“Travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, value vacation time more, and up their investment in unique experiences,” said Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia for Business, in a release.

But what’s interesting is that in spite of indicating an interest in environmentally-friendly trips, only 38 percent of travelers indicated they would deliberately spend at locally-owned restaurants and businesses. This may be pointing to an ongoing lack of understanding the scope of sustainability, and an opportunity for the industry to educate consumers on the social side of it.   

Expedia’s data also confirms an ongoing interest in wellness vacations, as part of one’s well-being, as well as multiple quick trips throughout the year.

With more than half of surveyed global consumers confirming plans to spend more on travel this year than pre-pandemic — to the tune of about $2,000 or over per American, Brit, German, and Australian — economic recovery lies ahead. But it is this steady interest in sustainable trips that presents an opportunity for destinations to steer conscious consumers towards activities and businesses that support a more responsible and equitable travel industry.


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Tags: coronavirus recovery, expedia group

Photo credit: Tulum, Mexico Gabriel Garcia Marengo / Flickr Commons

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