Mandala Research and Sustainable Travel International recently released the results of their 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism report. The findings are based on a survey of 2,292 leisure travelers. A lead sponsor of the study was Visit California. Additional sponsors included Travel Oregon, G Adventures, Destination Better, Shop America Alliance, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, and Wild Rivers Coast Alliance. According to the report, 60 percent of U.S. travelers (105.3 million) have taken a sustainable trip in the last three years. They spend more (on average $600 per trip), stay longer (seven days compared to four days) and bring higher benefits to local communities including job creation, giving-back and volunteering. More than half (53 percent) of sustainable travelers report that sustainable practices at the destination were a driver of destination choice, either being the “key factor in their decision” to visit the destination (28 percent) or helping them choose between destinations (25 percent), (compared to only eight percent of all other travelers.)
Sixty-three percent of all travelers say they are much more likely to consider destinations where there is a strong effort to conserve and protect natural resources. The number jumps to 75 percent among sustainable travelers. Travelers feel a great deal of responsibility for ensuring their trip has a positive impact on the place they visit, 63 percent; 64 percent believe that responsibility also rests with local government. More than 60 percent of all travelers feel strongly about their obligation to leave an area the same or better than they found it. More than two-fifths of sustainable travelers say they have purchased from travel companies because they believe they offer fair wages to their employees and invest in employees. Thirty-eight percent say they have done business with travel companies who have helped to reduce human trafficking. The 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism report included 40 questions. To access the entire report, click here.