What does the modern-day traveller want from his or her holiday? Have the days of sitting back on the beach without a care in the world come to an end? The latest research from Opodo.co.uk points to a significant change in the mindset of the holidaymaker as an increasing number of people are opting to use their precious holiday time for the purpose of altruistic travel.
The online travel specialist reports a massive 67% rise in passengers on its own “meaningful travel” programme over the last year. And it’s the girls rather than the boys who are most keen to offer their services, with Opodo’s insightful research showing that a staggering 70% of its meaningful travellers are female. One in ten of those travellers are surprisingly over the age of 40, while more than one in three are between 25 to 40 years old, showing that the older generation are now more likely than ever to take up the opportunity of a career break in order to ‘give something back’.
Louise Turner, Brand Marketing Manager at Opodo commented: “Whereas traditionally people have viewed their holidays as a time for relaxation, more and more of our customers are choosing to give something back to the countries they visit. We are entering a new era of ethical tourism and our decision to create this dedicated section of our site has been wholly vindicated.”
Africa has proved the most popular continent with the conscientious traveller over the past year, with Kenya and South Africa topping the list of most visited destinations for Opodo’s meaningful travel projects in 2006. However, a substantial rise in the number of people taking on projects in Asia is predicted over the coming year. “Traditionally, India and Sri Lanka have been popular,” comments Turner, “but more unusual locations, such as Cambodia, The Philippines and even Tibet look set to draw in ethically minded tourists in 2007, all of which are destinations that Opodo now offers meaningful travel packages to”.
The ‘Meaningful Travel’ section of the Opodo.co.uk site offers over 300 projects worldwide between one and 24 weeks long. By partnering with volunteer travel specialists i-to-i, Opodo has been able to offer its customers a huge variety of experiences, combined with an expert knowledge centre and infrastructure to ensure the most rewarding experiences possible. The challenging projects range from community work with children in Mombassa, to painting favellas in Rio de Janeiro and undertaking conservation projects in the UK for those who want to concentrate on offering their services somewhat closer to home.