New York Regional Tourism Office Digs Into Value of Sustainability

The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) has released results of its recent sustainability survey, developed to assess the importance of social, economic and environmental initiatives undertaken within the Adirondack region to travelers. The survey analyzed non-business travel to Lake Placid, Essex and Hamilton counties, along with the adjacent communities of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake

The sustainability survey indicated that roughly half of the respondents traveled to the region from within New York state, 21 percent from within the Northeast U.S. and others from areas farther away. Approximately 80 percent of survey respondents traveled from within a day's drive of the region. Survey respondents were asked how important sustainability factors are when planning a trip. A substantial majority (86 percent) of this group felt that sustainability is at least a moderate consideration and 26 percent felt it is a “very important” consideration.

Key findings include:

  • More than one in four respondents state that sustainability is a “very important” consideration when making travel plans.
  • Over half of respondents indicate sustainability is an influential factor at least “often.”
  • Travelers often seek out businesses and organizations that support other local businesses and communities.

ROOST’s sustainability survey respondents believe that the Adirondack region is making significant efforts, especially considering the environmental aspect of sustainability. This finding is important, considering that 91 percent of respondents feel positively influenced by sustainability practices when making purchase decisions; more than half of respondents indicated that this is “often” a consideration.

Respondents were also asked about local sustainability practices they look for when planning a vacation. 20 percent indicated that restaurants and businesses that support local farms, suppliers and artisans impact their decision to frequent those establishments. Community involvement is also essential. Business’ donations to charities and nonprofits, along with local ownership of businesses, positively impact travelers’ choice of visitation.

Seventeen percent of respondents indicated that regional plans to care for, manage and limit negative impacts on the area’s hiking trails also factored into their decision about visiting a region. Environmental emissions practices such as public transportation options and the ability to drive rather than fly to an area also influence their decision making.

According to Michelle Clement, director of marketing at ROOST, while sustainability has been a focus within ROOST for many years, this is the first year that a survey was conducted to gauge visitor perceptions. “Understanding the importance of sustainability practices to travelers, and how these practices impact their behavior, can help us continue to advance how we position the region. Considering that travelers look for evidence of sustainability initiatives when making travel decisions, investing in green initiatives is not only good for the environment and our overall quality of life, it is also good for business,” she explained. “Sharing information about sustainable practices is another marketing opportunity we will continue to focus on in the years ahead.”

Source: ROOST

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