Ethical travel continues to be important to consumers, according to new research from Exodus Travels. In a survey conduct for Exodus by OnePoll of 2,000 Americans who have been outside of North America and the Caribbean within the last three years, 79 percent of respondents said that they hope to become more ethically conscious in their future travels.
More key findings: 78 percent of respondents said that they consider themselves more ethically conscious than they were 10 years ago. Additionally, while more than 91 percent of travelers surveyed said that “ethical” travel was important to them, 39 percent are still feeling “travel guilt” over their past experiences abroad, particularly if they consisted of practices such as swimming with dolphins or posing for photographs with captive wildlife, Exodus said.
Respondents said that a combination of personal research, heightened concern for the environment, social media, news coverage and watching documentaries like Blackfish made them more conscientious about their behavior as travelers: 74 percent said that they’re concerned about where their tourist dollars are being spent, and 67 percent of respondents have committed to spending an average of six hours researching locations, businesses and attractions before booking.
Additionally, the average respondent said that they would now pay 33 percent more if it meant that their trip was guaranteed to have ethical components, such as learning about the destination’s culture and language from a local host, buying souvenirs from local artisans, supporting female-run businesses and having responsible tourism and wildlife policies.
The survey also found that travelers value gender equality while abroad. Seventy-two percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to travel with a company that supported women’s rights, and more than 77 percent felt that encouraging women to become tour leaders and guides was instrumental to reducing gender inequality.