Getting to know the Ethical Travellers of 2030

Daniel Batchelor

Global Head of Corporate Communications, Amadeus IT Group

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It’s possible that, in 2030, some travellers may avoid particular airlines, even air travel entirely, because they are concerned about climate change and the state of the planet. Many more will change their travel behaviours in some way to make some kind of concession to their conscience.

ethical traveller

These travellers, which we call Ethical Travellers, will worry about their carbon footprint, taking the attitude that if they cannot offset they may not set off. Or more likely they will look to make low-scale alterations to their behaviours, cutting down on luxuries leaving unchanged core habits and patterns. Very few will make some ethical objective the exclusive goal of their travel, but many will look to build or improvise some element of volunteering, community development or eco-sustainable activity into their holidays.

We may see cultivated more widely the goal to bring our individual impacts on the world, political and environmental, as close to neutral as possible. The quantification of the karmic, available on every future portable device, will give recommendations as to how to do this, and feedback on our progress towards the eradication of our footprint.

Demands for greater behind the scenes access and accountability from big business and the consumer desire for some kind of reward for their ethical choices will come from some segments of the population, and will be particularly important in ensuring the goodwill of Ethical Travellers.

In addition to a general sense of wanting to ‘do good’, more professionalised forms of giving are emerging, and consumers may expect their morality to be acknowledged by friendship networks, future employers and, of course, brands, although they won’t depend on it. Moreover, they may not accept that ethical choices must come with sacrifice – instead this tribe may actually believe they will come with some element of reward.

The operant ethical principles amongst this tribe are not only environmental. Others may be more powerful. They may avoid flashpoints of geopolitical conflict or countries governed by disagreeable regimes. They will understand that tourism boosts economies, and plan their travels with an investor or an altruist’s attention to the impact of their dollars. They may opt out of the big travel ecosystem to make sure that tourist spend is pumped directly into local economies, or direct their spend towards emerging rather than developed markets.


Carbon offsetting is an extremely attractive idea to Ethical Travellers, and should be encouraged by the aviation industry as a means of sanctioning users to fly in moderation. This may result in fewer air miles from the Ethical Traveller, but the alternative for some may be wholesale and unconditional rejection of air as a travel option.


Have a look at our Traveller Tribes 2030 report to learn more about Ethical Travellers.