Category Archives: Green consumers

What DMO managers need to know: Food Trends and Tourism

Sustainability and Social Responsibility are are the driving force behind the Top 5 trends in restaurants in the U.S. according to the National Restaurant Association. The top food trends, according to the  National Restaurant Association Culinary Forecast 2015 are locally sourced meat, seafood and produce and environmental sustainability.

Why do DMO managers need to know this ? Because this trend is helping them meet their goals of improving the economic and social well being of their destination communities. WhatsHot2015-Top5_Food_1200x1200

We are all becoming familiar with infographics touting the economic benefits of tourism.  An important way to improve the economic impact is to reduce what economists call “leakage” – the money that leaves the community. Locally sourced restaurants and “farm to table” restaurants keep money in the community ! The money tourists spend at “farm to table” restaurants does “leak away” – it stays close to home. These trends is helping raise the economic impact of tourism in many communities.

DMO managers spend a lot of time attracting new visitors to their destination – but strategies to improve the economic impact of visitors as less common. Leveraging these important trends is a way that progressive DMO management can get the most for their communities from visitor dollars.

Voluntourism in the mainstream

Flipping through the pages of most high end consumer travel magazines – Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast Travel and the like – exposes the curious to some of the most luxurious brands on the planet. These magazines are the showcases for some of today’s most upmarket consumer brands and the content of the magazines – both the editorial and the advertising – reflect the interests of these affluent readers. At first glance- it may seem that these interests are exclusively self centered but a closer examination shows that issues of sustainability and responsible tourism are receiving increasing coverage.

Voluntourism – where visitors volunteer for charities and NGOs in the destination – has been an important trend in recent years . It is great to see Conde Nast Traveler’s Dorinda Elliott covering voluntourism in a recent edition. I particularly like that Dorinda article recognizes the challenges of voluntourism.

I am a strong believer that most acts of charity do more good than harm. Nevertheless  unintended consequences – even when the motives are pure – need to be carefully considered. Dorinda follows her main article with an empowering sidebar of recommendations for people considering spending part their vacation helping others. Bravo !

Responsible Tourism

Consumer behavior is really core to many of the issues in smart, sustainable tourism. Just how people are adopting green behaviors is still an unanswered question but it is nice to see bits and pieces of evidence that attitudes and behaviors are improving !

Here’s the latest from Tripadvisor on green travel behaviors…