Responsible Travelers Lead the Way in Industry Recovery

The travel industry is in a constant state of flux. In order to stay relevant, the industry must adapt and evolve with the ever-changing trends of society. Responsible travelers are leading the way in this evolution as they seek out new ways to experience the world while staying conscious of their impact on it.

Research shows that travel is coming back but that concerns still remain for those willing to go.

According to recent YouGov research, the International Travel & Tourism Report 2021 found that the three major barriers to travel are health risks, safety and travel restrictions. Travelers are also concerned about the price of travel, health situation, work, price and availability of accommodation.


But these barriers are manageable since YouGov’s research also found that one in five global consumers plan to travel internationally in the next 12 months.

Millennials and on-the-go travelers are the most lucrative segments, and 57 percent of travelers over the next year expect to take multiple trips.

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While leisure travel is going nowhere but up, business travel is still a mixed bag, according to YouGov’s research. Some companies have decided to reduce their business travel footprints, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicted
in November 2020 that business travel will drop by
50 percent compared to before the pandemic.

However, business travel is not going away, it is just transforming. Expense management firm SAP Concur predicts that business travel will return and anticipates that ‘Zoom fatigue’ will increase, even driving firms spend more per trip for their employees to travel more sustainably.

Realistically, however, business travel is going to return slower than leisure travel.

When looking at the U.S., YouGov found that more than half of Americans intend to travel and that the outlook in the States is more positive than the global average. U.S. travelers are vastly less put off by travel restrictions than consumers in other regions, perhaps because their domestic restrictions have been less confining than those in Europe or APAC, YouGov says.

The YouGov research also broke down travelers into several categories, including luxury travelers, budget/value travelers, responsible travelers, the adventurous, all-inclusive/package purchasers and weekend travelers.

Sixty-eight percent of those who identified as luxury travelers planned to take a domestic trip in the next 12 months, and 35 percent were traveling internationally—the highest of all the other self-identified groups.

Budget travelers are ready to travel domestically, but not as willing to travel internationally with 56 percent saying they are taking a trip in the next 12 months in the U.S., but just 17 percent will leave the country.

Responsible and adventure travelers are just about equal in their travel preferences. In the next 12 months, 52 percent and 50 percent respectively are planning to travel in the U.S. Twenty-eight percent of responsible travelers intend to take an international trip and 26 percent of those who are adventurous plane to travel internationally.

Group of young women taking a pandemic-era road trip. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/valentinrussanov)

Responsible travelers are a growing portion of the travel market. According to YouGov, the research makes clear that the demographics most focused on responsible travel are Millennials and Gen X–who typically have more disposable income than Gen Z.

YouGov also noted in its research that travel companies have an opportunity to meet the needs of responsible travelers by ensuring the accommodation is as sustainable as possible, and that marketing to this group should take into consideration factors such as cultural and historical sites, sustainability and conservation policies, natural beauty and safety.

Lastly, the survey focused on the changing popularity of destinations. U.S. travelers were slightly less interested in travel to Florida, but it retained the number one spot. Canada was still in second but was growing in interest among U.S. travelers. Hawaii was number three, and New York was number four followed by the U.K. which grew in interest. California, Italy, Australia, Arizona and Paris rounded out the top 10 with California and Arizona declining in interest slightly and the others growing.