Eating and shopping at small businesses tops the list of activities consumers are interested in doing to have a positive impact on the local community. Image: ShutterstockA
fter more than two years of pandemic, travelers are getting back on the road, learning the lessons of the Covid crisis to get onboard with a more ethical approach to travel. Indeed, preserving the environment is not the only facet of responsible travel, as it also has a social dimension. On this front, the 2022 American Express Global Travel Trends Report provides several insights into how vacationers are interested in better supporting local communities.
Being aware that your vacation has an impact on the environment, as well as on the communities that welcome you is a good thing. But taking positive action to avoid the kind of tourism that's detrimental to the wellbeing of others is even better. In its annual Global Travel Trends Report, American Express addresses the issue of ethical travel. In fact, more than three quarters (78%) of the travelers surveyed -- from the UK, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia and the US -- want to have a positive impact on the communities they visit.
Perhaps the easiest way of supporting these communities is by boosting local trade. Fifty-five percent of the consumers surveyed are interested in buying in small stores or eating in local restaurants in order to have a positive impact on the local community. Meanwhile, 42% of holidaymakers are interested in visiting the major landmarks or heritage sites of a destination in order to achieve this, while 40% are interested in visiting a national park, and 37% a farmers' market.
Many vacationers (36%) consider taking part in cultural tours as an interesting activity when it comes to having a positive impact on local communities. In this case, careful attention should be paid to respecting the traditions of the people travelers encounter, and to preserving the natural habitat of the animal species they hope to see.
With the recovery of tourism and the reopening of borders, time will tell how much travelers are actually ready to put into practice these new aspirations. But if one thing is certain, it's that tourists are keen to get back out there. According to this report, 76% of respondents plan to travel more than in 2021. More than half (55%) even want to plan an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime trip this year.
The study polled a sample of 2,000 Americans and 1,000 people in each of the other countries surveyed, namely Japan, the UK, Australia, Mexico, India and Canada.