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In recent weeks, many of us have felt a renewed sense of optimism about the future of travel, and current research has supported this excitement. A March survey by Longwoods International shows that 87% of respondents say they are expecting to travel in the next six months, and MMGY’s annual Portrait of American Travelers reveals that traveler sentiment is back up to pre-pandemic levels.
While the travel industry is right to be excited by the progress, it is important to remind clients not to completely abandon their pandemic precautions just yet. Watching the completely irresponsible spring break behavior in Miami and elsewhere last month, it was clear to me that people will not always make good decisions when it comes to health and safety.
Reminding clients to take a cautious approach and treat locals in vacation destinations with the respect they deserve is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good business.
A careful approach is especially important when traveling internationally to places that might not be as far along with their COVID-19 vaccine rollout. In recent days, I have heard horrific stories about tourists in the Caribbean and Mexico who refuse to consider the health impacts of their behavior on workers and residents in those places. Not only is this type of behavior morally wrong, but it could also lead to a backlash against tourism, which has the potential for hampering travel’s overall rebound.
In fact, the MMGY survey points to a new mindfulness about travel’s impact. Not only do 83% of active leisure travelers indicate they are open to changing some aspect of their travel behavior to reduce their impact on the local environment, but this response is also strongest with younger respondents — suggesting that it is likely to grow in the future.
In other words, reminding clients to take a cautious approach and treat locals in vacation destinations with the respect they deserve is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good business. Ultimately, the success of travel’s return will not just be judged by the health of travelers, but also on travel’s effect on the places we visit.