In recent years, the vegan lifestyle has strongly developed and become increasingly noticeable. This lifestyle is influencing many aspects, including tourism. Thereby, the concept of vegan tourism was formed and became more and more popular.
In recent years, the emergence of trends such as ‘going green’ living, responsible tourism as well as the greater interest of the community in sustainable tourism has contributed to the development of vegan tourism. Especially, after a year of facing Covid-19, the travelers’ interest in eco-friendly products/ services has increased, including the trend of vegan tourism. According to GlobalData’s global consumer survey in the third quarter of 2019, 46% of respondents said that they actively buy products that are “better for the environment or animal friendly”. A recent GlobalData survey conducted in December 2020 found that up to 76% of global respondents globally identified the ethics/ environmental friendliness/ social responsibility of products/ services has to influence on their choices.
The vegan lifestyle stems from the desire to minimize the negative environmental impacts caused by animal agriculture, so the vegan lifestyle is considered to play a certain role in preserving sustainability and environmentally friendly. Thereby, vegan tourism has been considered part of responsible tourism and contributes to sustainable tourism.
Vegan tourism is more than just eating vegetarian food during the trip or dining options at the vegetarian restaurants in the destination. Many vegan tourists also restrict the use of products/ services that have a negative impact on animals, such as those with animal trials or tourism activities that related to animal exploitation. Therefore, in the past, finding restaurants and hotels with vegan food and services was a difficulty for these tourists and sometimes became a barrier for them to visit a destination. However, the strong growth of vegan tourism over the years has made the choices of vegan tourists much richer in terms of both destination and accommodation.
Vegan tourism initiatives
The Saora 1875 in Scotland is the first 100% vegan hotel in the UK which was built in 2018 exclusively for vegans. In addition to the vegetarian menu, this hotel also uses vegan bedding (not made of wool or feathers) and a vegan mini-bar for its guests.
In early 2019, Hilton opened the first vegan suite at Hilton London Bankside, offering a comprehensive vegan travel experience to guests. From check-in desks, floors, keycards to amenities such as bedding, carpets, bathroom amenities, minibars, … are made from plant-derived products and vegetarian friendly.
First ‘Vegan Suite’ at Hilton London Bankside
The growth of the German hotel chain Veggie Hotels with more than 500 properties worldwide for vegan tourists is also a testament to the growing potential of this tourism trend.
Finding information for a vegan tour has also become more convenient thanks to the development of travel apps specifically for this group of tourists. Air Vegan and Veg Visits are two standout apps that make a vegan travel experience easier. The Air Vegan app ranks vegan-friendly airports and nearby vegan dining locations. Meanwhile, Veg Visits is like the Airbnb application for vegans because it is a platform for sharing rooms with vegan homeowners with networks spanning 80 countries around the world.
With the rise of the vegan tourism trend, there have been a number of travel companies that specialize in providing tours for vegan tourists. In addition, many travel companies around the world also began to approach vegan tourists by expanding their products to meet the requirements and preferences of vegan tourists.
According to Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, the vegan lifestyle is growing in popularity and is no longer considered a niche market.
She commented: “Servicing a traveler’s every need is going to be critical in post-pandemic recovery to both restore confidence and ensure satisfaction. With a greater level of satisfaction, there is, in turn, a higher chance to attract loyal customers – a promising prospect in light of COVID-19 and the detrimental losses it has inflicted on company revenues. As travel companies aspire to personalize each individual’s experience, ‘veganism’ should be an area to be acknowledged and acted upon, not ignored across the tourism sector.”