Aussies are increasing demand for sustainable experiences, says Virtuoso

New report identifies strong demand for off-peak travel times

Credit: Mantas Hesthaven/Unsplash

Virtuoso is reporting one-third of member travel advisors surveyed in Australia and New Zealand say clients are travelling differently or changing travel plans to offset the effects of climate change seen across the globe. The feedback follows the recently conducted 2024 Luxe Report of over 2,000 travel advisors in 50 countries.

More than 80% of advisors in the region said their clients are visiting destinations during off-peak times when weather conditions are typically better, 71% said clients are selecting destinations where weather conditions are less extreme and 30% said their clients are travelling more sustainably to reduce their carbon footprint.

While travellers are becoming more aware of how their tourism dollars can support sustainability efforts, Virtuoso says it has been supporting and promoting responsible tourism for over 12 years. With practices based on the three pillars of sustainability – Protecting the Planet, Celebrating & Honouring Cultures and Supporting Local Economies – Virtuoso, together with hundreds of its preferred partners across the globe, is committed to furthering travel as a force for good and helping propel the travel industry toward a more sustainable future.

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“Virtuoso has long been a proud advocate of sustainable tourism,” said Javier Arredondo, Virtuoso’s Vice President, Sustainability. “From our Sustainability Council and Community to awards and dedicated editorials in every issue of Virtuoso, The Magazine, we support the efforts of our partners and seek to educate our advisors on sustainable travel.

“With a goal of making sustainability a greater factor in consumer choice, it’s inspiring to see more clients taking it into account, thanks in large part to our travel advisors who are creating a dialogue on selecting destinations, hotels, cruise lines, tour operators and other partners that share the same commitment.”

Javiar Arredondo, Vice President, Sustainability, Virtuoso

“Using a Virtuoso advisor when planning upcoming holidays will not only help travellers ensure they support businesses that share their values but also assist them in navigating the ever-changing world of travel.”

Broome to Darwin, Kimberley Emblématique © Ponant/Nick Rains

Virtuoso launched a campaign to shine a light on the unique ways that the network’s preferred partners are uplifting the travel space in line with Virtuoso’s three pillars of sustainability. Among the partner efforts were:

Protecting the Planet: These efforts involve protecting and preserving the environment and/or promoting sustainable practices in local communities or around the world.

  • Silversea’s newest ship, Silver Nova, is at the forefront of sustainability, energy efficiency and waste management. Boasting hybrid power sources, the ability to turn waste into energy with a micro auto gasification system and a waste heat recovery system onboard, the ship has been carefully designed to reduce its’ impact on the environment.
  • Lindblad Expeditions is 100% carbon neutral, thanks to a longstanding commitment to eliminating unnecessary emissions and reducing its footprint. Also, since 1997, guests aboard Lindblad’s ships in the Galápagos have contributed more than AU$14 million for local projects, including a grant enabling the Charles Darwin Foundation to lead over 1,000 school children on beach clean-ups. Plastic collected via these efforts has been turned into a sculpture that is on permanent display at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Credit: Lindblad Expeditions

Celebrating & Honouring Cultures: These efforts transform communities, the travel industry and/or the world through the expansion of knowledge, beliefs, arts, customs or capabilities.

  • PONANT collaborated closely with location destination experts and community leaders when curating their cruise itineraries around the world. On Jar Island in Australia’s Kimberley region, for example, PONANT works with the local First Nations people of the region to lead guided expeditions through the caves that behold Gwion-Gwion Aboriginal rock paintings, some over 12,000 years old. Sharing their customs and arts with travellers, along with the work being completed by the PONANT Foundation in the region, protects and preserves the ancient indigenous culture and traditions for future generations.
  • Adventure World, a custom travel specialist that curates inspiring itineraries around the world, offers experiences in their Authentic Collection that are qualified in alignment with the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals to preserve the planet, conserve wildlife and support local communities and culture. For instance, in Canada they partner with indigenous companies, such as a tour provider owned by the Xwémalhkwu (or Homalco) First Nation, in which guests whale-watch on the Salish Sea and travel to a nearby village for insight into the Xwémalhkwu way of life. Supporting these experiences helps care for the planet and preserve culture for future generations.
Authentic Canada - Peak Nic Experience | Credit: Adventure World

Supporting Local Economies: These efforts make a positive financial impact on communities, improving conditions, circumstances and livelihoods for local or global populations.

  • AmaWaterways is currently building two new ships in Colombia and working hand-in-hand with local architects, designers and suppliers to ensure the ships honour the destinations’ beauty and culture, while also opening up communities along the Magdalena River to international visitors for the first time.
  • Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury rail carrier with scenic routes through the Canadian Rockies and American Southwest, boasts a culinary program that is designed to reflect the places and ingredients of the destinations that its trains travel through. Working with local businesses, where possible, products are locally sourced, in turn supporting the economies of the regions that its trains visit.
Dining aboard Rocky Mountaineer | Credit: Rocky Mountaineer/Facebook
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