Environment-friendly tourism is coming

As travelling becomes a commodity, branding is what all industry players try to represent. Interestingly, the number of passengers flying alone, has increased substantially.
The Dublin airport has released unexpected results disclosing that up to 57 per cent of the over 30 million travellers were “solo”. With a growing trend of individual tourists boarding towards a journey, more than a holiday, hospitality operators are focusing on providing clients with something unusual to do, more than just shopping around and sightseeing.
Art and exercise retreats have become the norm. Even the largest accommodation intermediary in the world has launched in recent years an area entirely dedicated to transforming every ordinary citizen into a tour guide. Tourists are lesser and lesser interested in heritage and history, and more in personal enrichment through one of a kind experiences.
Generally speaking, a survey showed how tourists who book an experience first, followed by flight and accommodation later, would spend significantly more money for the latter. Accomodation for “experience” travellers jumps up by 47 per cent while flight skyrockets to 81 per cent more. These numbers alone show that travellers seeking experience are wealthier and willing to spend more to transform their journey in unforgettable memories.
According to a research commissioned by one of the world’s leading trip booking engines, the picture portrayed for tourism in the years to come looks definitely green. Statistics show that more than 1 in 2 travellers are searching for eco-friendly experiences.
As a matter of fact, search for experience, as opposed to search for holidays, is now 3 times higher across tourists in the USA. American travellers are searching for a unique experience 8 times more than they are searching for a flight.
I witnessed this type of approach just last week in Italy, when I was having dinner with my friend. His daughter, a teenager, was talking about experiences more than location. She was excited about going to attend the concert of a famous pop star in Prague. She never mentioned once about sightseeing in Prague. The concert will be the centrepiece of her holiday. Experience beats destination. Even more when it is green.
According to the research, an outstanding 73 per cent of the surveyed sample declared that they are planning an eco-friendly experience or accommodation within the next year. The number is so high that established hospitality operators have already started implementing initiatives to show care towards environment sustainability.
With regards to my recent trip to India, I was quite unimpressed by the drawback that eco-friendliness left in one of the hotels where I stayed. The bathroom tap water came out through a diffuser that made water feel more like a moist than a stream. The reasoning was described on a sheet of paper left by the hotel staff on the sink. It described their efforts in reducing water wastage. I totally agree with their mission, but let me wondering if I could still have a normal stream of water to wash my hands.
Another emerging trend are boutique hotels. They are no longer a novelty, but an established moving part of a complex ecosystem like travel and tourism.
Themed hotels are trendy and attractive. Recently on the news, I read about an experimental boutique hotel in Sydney, where travellers pay expensive bills just to get teased by staff wearing provocative uniforms and well orchestrated mocking experiences.
Single travellers enter in their rooms where lonely sad music is playing. Couples get “wake up calls” in the middle of the night with high-beat music. Tourists see this not as an annoyance, but as entertainment.
When it comes to long haul flights, travellers are more and more frequently indicating the preference for no-stopover.
This trend has been growing overwhelmingly for the past few years. For this reason, airlines have already begun offering extended stop-over. Instead of a few hours wasted at the airport waiting for a connecting flight, activities are offered to fill the gap.
The award winning Changi airport in Singapore has been offering a complimentary tour of the city for travellers in transit since I visited the first time in 2006.
Airlines like Ethiopian, Emirates and TAP, offer quick tours to those who prefer excitement to relax.
Google has become a crucial player in travel research. It allows anyone to search for flights directly from the search engine results page. Statistically, Google reported that travellers tend to search in the range of 3 months ahead of their schedule. The main reason is pricing. As travellers try to squeeze one extra holiday in their yearly plan, saving some money here and there is essential.