Personal finance

96% of travelers want their vacation dollars to positively impact the place they visit, survey finds

Forty-eight percent of respondents told Kind Traveler their greatest challenge in traveling sustainably is finding accommodations that are both “sustainable and socially conscious.”
Klaus Vedfelt | Digitalvision | Getty Images

Everyone likes a bargain when it comes to booking travel, but many also want the money they spend to do some good where they’re headed, according to a survey from hotel booking platform Kind Traveler.

To that point, 96% of survey respondents told the woman- and veteran-owned company that it’s “important” (or slightly, fairly or very important) that their travel dollars make a positive impact in the destinations they visit. Kind Traveler surveyed 1,014 people, 90% of them in the U.S., last year.

The Importance of Impact Travel in Bookings

In a 2021 survey of 1,014 travelers, Kind Traveler found that:

  • 96% said it’s important (slightly important, fairly important, important or very important) that “my travel dollars are making a positive impact in the places I visit.”
  • 48% said “my greatest challenge in traveling sustainably is choosing accommodations that are sustainable and socially conscious.”
  • 37% said “my greatest challenge in traveling sustainably is reducing or eliminating my carbon footprint.”

— Source: Kind Traveler

The survey, whose findings were released in the 2022 Kind Traveler Global Impact Tourism Report, also found that nearly half (48%) of respondents said their greatest challenge in trying to travel sustainably is finding accommodations that are both “sustainable and socially conscious.”

More than a third, meanwhile, said their greatest challenge is reducing or eliminating their carbon footprint. The full report also details 10 travel industry trends distilled from feedback from 64 Kind Traveler partner hotels, charities and destinations in 16 countries. These include:

  • Hotels and destinations creating innovative ways for guests to give back to surrounding communities and environments.
  • Charities developing “impact tourism” experiences to motivate responsible travel.
  • Hotels acting as “regenerative powerhouses” in their host communities.
  • Global travelers asking for transparency around hotels’ charitable and sustainable efforts.

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“Trends give us direction, while solutions give us better pathways forward,” said report author and Kind Traveler CEO Jessica Blotter, in a statement. A former earth science teacher, Blotter said “education and positive change are interlinked.”

“By creating and offering more kind choices, it’s possible to create tourism opportunities that drive positive impact and trip satisfaction,” said Blotter, who is also board chair of the Center for Responsible Travel.

The Kind Traveler platform offers users special rates and perks from “curated” hotels when they donate a minimum $10 to a vetted charity of their choice or in the destination they will visit. The firm says 100% of donations go to charity and it provides “positive impact metrics” with every booking. As of 2022, Kind Traveler works with hotels and tourism boards in 22 countries and 100-plus charities worldwide.

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