Without question, the Travel Industry Association of America
produces some of the industry’s most interesting and valuable
research. But one report released last month just didn’t go far
“Geotourism: The New Trend in Travel” reported that more than
three-quarters of U.S. travelers said it’s important that their
visits not damage the environment and a majority added that they’d
pay 5 or 10 percent more for a travel company that makes such an
Sixty-two percent said it’s important to learn about other
cultures while traveling, and an equally large number praised
authenticity in a destination.
U.S. travelers may voice respect for these values in a survey
but, realistically, that’s about as far as it goes.
How many of your clients just expect that there will be a golf
course in the desert?
Or would think twice about climbing on a centuries-old ruin to
get a better view?
I don’t doubt that most of us travel professionals, agents and
clients would like to think that we would pay more to help the
environment. But what would happen if you proposed such a plan to
your next client or if your business added a surcharge for electric
tour vehicles? As for authenticity, I will remind us all that
Orlando and Las Vegas are top U.S. destinations and leave it at
The association’s findings would have been much more powerful if
the research had been put in context; if details on land use,
pollution or loss of native species were overlaid on the public’s
perceptions, creating some kind of realistic perspective.
The survey does show that most of us have absorbed the right
lessons. At least we know what we should be doing even if we’re not