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Conscious traveler emerges as tourism opens up — Airbnb study

Revenge travel is real and tourists are flocking to their destinations of choice coming out from more than two years of lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But survey data show that a different kind of traveler is emerging: conscious traveler.

In a panel discussion organized by Airbnb and joined by tourism leaders from the Department of Tourism, the Economist Impact, and AirAsia Philippines, sustainable tourism is slowly gaining traction seeping to the travelers consciousness.

A survey by Airbnb show that Filipinos want to be more conscious travelers with more than 80% saying that it is important that (their visits) get a positive impact for locals. The survey also found that 75% of the respondents value travel as a way to meaningfully connect with communities and with culture while 76% said that they will be more conscious when it comes to familiarizing themselves about what’s important in the communities they are visiting and how they can make a contribution.

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“This idea of conscious traveler is coming through very clearly,” said Andrew Staples, regional head (APAC), Policy and Insights, Economist Impact. “Travelers are saying that sustainability-related issues are informing their travel decisions in a way that they maybe weren’t doing pre-COVID.”

Tourists are no longer just traveling for fun but they are also thinking in what destinations their visits can make an impact, whether economic or environmental. These types of travelers are avoiding places or establishments where there has been a negative environmental impact.

“The rise of the conscious traveler that we have heard, there is an opportunity for travel now to benefit communities in which it is now currently happening,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, GM, India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Airbnb. “And as newer cities, newer people open up their doors, we can create a more inclusive and more sustainable tourism ecosystem going forward.”

The panel discussion underscored the increase of domestic tourism in the Philippines with new data by Airbnb revealed that amid the reopening of international destinations, domestic travel remains top of mind for Filipinos. Baguio emerged as the most searched destination by Filipinos on Airbnb this Q2 2022, followed by Quezon City and Tagaytay City.

Tagaytay leads with the largest surge in guest searches on Airbnb in Q2 2022 up from Q2 2019 pre-pandemic, followed by Dumaguete and Calaca. Other trending destinations for Filipinos include destinations outside tourism hotspots such as Guagua in Pampanga, Unisan in Quezon, and Jala-jala in Rizal.