Agents will soon be expected – as a matter of course – to back up any environmental or sustainability claims presented in their marketing, the boss of Intrepid Travel has warned.
“There is lots of marketing out there saying companies are sustainable; millennial and Generation Z travellers will want to see the proof,” chief executive James Thornton told TTG.
His warning comes alongside the launch of the adventure touring specialist’s first UK Adventure Travel Index on Monday (14 October), which follows similar studies in Australia and in New Zealand.
Intrepid polled more than 2,000 UK adults on their travel preferences, behaviours and motivations, and found the single-most popular reason to pursue adventure travel was to satisfy their curiosity about new places.
Some 58% of all respondents, and 60% of those respondents aged 18-24, said sustainability was an important factor when choosing a tour operator.
Over-55s, though, were less concerned; only 20% said they wanted operators to offset carbon emissions, while just 24% said they wanted operators to offer public transport and 34% for operators to ban single-use plastics.
“The travel industry is under increasing pressure to provide for environmentally conscious travellers,” said Thornton.
“Gen Z and millennials are concerned with their environmental footprint; their priorities have changed in the sense it isn’t necessary to have the biggest house, the best car or material possessions. They just want great experiences.
“It’s no longer good enough to just stay in a hotel where there are no plastic straws. They want a material impact and they want to see external benchmarks for that.”
Thornton also stressed adventure travel was become increasingly popular with older travellers, those with older children, more free time, who have paid off their mortgages, and perhaps did not get the chance to travel extensively before starting their careers.
Burgeoning destinations include Jordan, which made its debut in the index’s top 10 at number five following a 75% increase in Intrepid bookings from January through August compared to the same period in 2018.
“Morocco has long been a popular destination, but Jordan at number five was a big surprise,” said Thornton. “There has been a challenge to get passengers back there since the Arab Spring, but Jordan is pretty stable now and I was surprised to see it there, but it’s great.”
Vietnam topped the list for families, cyclists, and respondents at large.
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Intrepid Travel is a global adventure travel company that has been taking travellers off the beaten track to discover the world's most amazing places for 29 years.