Tips for ethical and sustainable travel marketing in 2022

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, we’re all wistfully day-dreaming of our next travel adventure. After two years of lockdowns and restrictions, it’s no surprise that many of us are hoping a holiday might be on the cards this year.

There are many reasons people travel. For rest and relaxation, to experience other cultures and explore new destinations, to enjoy better climates, or just to spend quality time with family in a change of scenery.

While the pandemic provided destination marketers with a new and unique challenge, it also opened people’s eyes to the other ethical considerations of travel. Community impact and sustainability are concepts that many travellers are considering when booking holidays now, and travel marketers need to ensure they’re equipped to deal with them.

Here are a few ideas to consider when marketing the tourism industry in 2022.

Commit to the environment

Environmental responsibility is at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, so it’s important as a travel marketer that you showcase your company’s commitments to sustainability.

Hotels and resorts all over the world are making solid efforts to reduce their impact on the planet – utilising environmental strategies, providing eco-friendly solutions, and offsetting their carbon emissions.

By making a commitment to the environment, you can showcase to your customers that you’re an ethical and sustainable brand who really cares about the future of the destinations you’re marketing.

Market off-season travel

Some of the most popular holiday destinations suffer from over-tourism, with too many people trying to visit at the same time of year. An easy way to combat this is to provide incentives for off-season travel.

With cheaper flights, fewer crowds and smaller queues – there are lots of marketable reasons to travel outside of the peak holiday times. Many places have just as good weather in May as they do in July, and your customers will still be able to enjoy the sights and activities on offer at any time of year.

Targeted campaigns that celebrate off-season holidays will appeal to the ethical traveller as well as repeat visitors and new customers alike – providing a quieter, more relaxing and authentic experience without too many other tourists around.

Promote respectful behaviour

Most of us wouldn’t imagine visiting another country or location without being on our best behaviour, but unfortunately, there always seems to be a select few that cause disruption wherever they go.

As a destination marketer, you can ensure your customers (and the locals) can enjoy more positive experiences on holiday by encouraging more respectful behaviour. Campaigns focused on cleaning up after themselves, learning a few phrases of the local language, and tips on what to do, say and wear to respect the local cultures could go a long way to helping travellers better understand what’s expected of them.

Work with the local community

The best way to find out how your destination’s community feels about tourism, is to connect with them and have real conversations.

It’s important that local communities feel the positive benefits of the tourism you’re marketing, and many travellers want to know that their holidays are having a positive impact as well. 

Whether you partner with local workers to create experience packages for tourists, produce guides with local business information, or work with local authorities to ensure tourist revenue stays in the local economy – highlighting how the community benefits from your tourism opens up all kinds of opportunities for your ethical marketing campaigns.

Consider conservation

Wildlife experiences have become very popular with tourists all over the world over the years. From safaris to coral reefs – there are so many incredible opportunities for tourists to see and enjoy the natural world. Unfortunately, many of the available activities pose ethical questions that might not be immediately obvious to tourists or destination marketers.

It’s so important, however, to be responsible when marketing your wildlife experiences. Only promoting ethical options and partnering with local conservation efforts help ensure your company plays a part in the preservation of the beautiful destinations it’s marketing.

Stray from the beaten track

Over-tourism doesn’t just impact tourist destinations in peak holiday times. Increased tourist markets can negatively affect the local community in all kinds of ways all year round – from increased property prices and rent costs, more traffic jams and higher carbon emissions.

Marketing lesser-known destinations that aren’t as crowded by tourists is a good way to reduce over-tourism and provide more genuine experiences to ethically-minded travellers. Finding new and untouched areas that haven’t been as commercialised by tourists is a huge plus for many travellers looking to experience their chosen destinations in a more authentic light.

With more and more ethical questions being raised in the tourism industry, travel marketers need to get creative in order to provide honest answers that put their customers’ minds at ease.

From supporting local businesses and conserving the natural beauty of the destinations, to reducing over-tourism and lessening the environmental impact of travellers – there are plenty of marketable opportunities for ethical and sustainable travel brands in 2022.

We’re a small studio with a big heart and believe we can make the world a better place through creativity. If you’d like to work with us on your next ethical destination marketing campaign, get in touch.

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