Sustainability is now a priority for luxury travellers, says report

Sustainability is now a priority for luxury travellers, says report

More than 80% of respondents said the pandemic has made them travel more responsibly

Results from a recent survey conducted by global travel network Virtuoso highlight how discerning travellers view sustainable tourism.

The results found that travellers are conscious of their place and impact in the world, with more than 80% 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 priority for luxury travellers.

Assessing high-end travellers’ sentiments regarding purposeful travel, Virtuoso’s 2021 sustainability survey found that 78% believed that 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.

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In addition, 70% 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 a less touristy destination to help combat over-tourism. 

In Virtuoso’s 2022 sustainability survey, affluent consumers reported that cost is less of a factor when planning to implement sustainable travel practices, but transparency is key with 75% of travellers willing to pay more to travel responsibly if they know how the funds are being used. 

Travellers also expressed a strong desire for deeper knowledge and assistance with making more informed decisions around sustainable travel, with 40% 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 or agent.


Commenting on the findings, Virtuoso vice-chair and sustainability strategist Jessica Hall Upchurch said: “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.

“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.”

5 Ways travellers can support sustainable tourism

  1. Reduce food waste and plastic consumption with reusable water bottles and bags
  2. Support wildlife conservation
  3. Travel during off-peak seasons to lesser-known destinations
  4. Contribute to causes that benefit the destination and community 
  5. Support travel companies that have a strong sustainability policy

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