Despite our differences, travel reminds us of all the things that we share, most notably our humanity and our planet. Sustainable travel as an industry is growing around this reality, and the “business as usual” mentality around the products and practices we use is changing. Where are sustainable travel trends headed in 2020?
Where have we been?
The Center for Responsible Travel’s Trends and Statistics 2019 Report states that, “The travel and tourism sector remains a critical player in positive triple bottom line impacts (people, planet, and profit), but it can also a great deal of harm.
Travelers and companies alike have grown to realize this double-edged sword affect of travel, and that’s really where responsible and sustainable travel comes in with the goal to maximize positive impacts while minimizing the negative ones.
And the good news is that there are smart and innovative people and companies out there lobbying for action, creating brand-new solutions, and demanding better options for supporting cultures, economies, and the planet.
Where are we going? Sustainable travel trends in 2020
Trend #1: Consumers are demanding more eco-conscious travel choices
Travelers are increasingly aware of the social and environmental impact of their choices, and they’re raising the bar. From passing up locations that are burdened by overtourism to reducing single-plastic on the road to traveling a little bit slower, people are incorporating their beliefs into their travel habits.
According to Booking.com‘s sustainable travel trends report, “over half (55%) of global travellers report being more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago”.
Trend #2: Unique experiences are winning over “must-see” destinations
When it comes to many bucket list destinations, the gap between expectation and reality is growing wider. While you might expect a beautiful view or a peaceful walk through a museum, the reality is that huge crowds both block your view and pose problems for the local infrastructure.
Thus, travelers are now choosing to travel off-season, or they are choosing lesser-known destinations known as “second-cities”. Booking.com found that 51% of travelers would be willing to switch their chosen destination to a lesser-known place if it would reduce the environmental impact.
Trend #3: Single-use plastic is out
Whether it’s at home or on the road, travelers are aware of the damage caused by single-use plastic pollution. Increasingly, travelers are switching over to more sustainable ways of packing, traveling, and shopping.
In alignment with the belief of leaving cities better than we found them, Prontopia Locals, team members, and travelers gathered in June 2019 and September 2019 to collect plastic polluting Venice’s canals.
Trend #4: Microadventures are in
For many of us, month-long global adventure trips are generally out of reach. But just because you can’t take three months off work and life to trek around the world doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your sense of adventure entirely. According to Forbes, “More people want to visit more destinations and be more well-traveled.”
National Geographic writes that “the promise of a microadventure is that you can still have out-there experience and make it home in time for tea”. And a sustainable benefit is that more localized travel minimizes travelers’ carbon footprints.
Trend #5: Consumption as a form of personal impact
Michele Giddens at Forbes writes that “people increasingly want to work for, buy from, and invest in companies that have mission and impact at the heart of their model”. People are spending in line with their values – values that include social impact and environmental responsibility. It’s profitable and advisable to build impact into your core business model.
Where does Prontopia come in?
Prontopia is a public benefit corporation dedicated to global human rights awareness, and we utilize grassroot efforts to make positive impacts on the communities that we’re in. In fact, as a team, we believe that purposeful and grassroots action is the only effective way to achieve the kind of change we all wish to see in the tourism industry.
By connecting you with a Local when you travel, we seek to also connect you to the heart and soul of the city that you’re visiting. Understanding, empathy, and change, in so many ways, comes from genuine connection.