Vegan Tourism is On the Rise, and This Company Is Leading the Way
For many plant-based consumers, planning travel can be difficult when mapping your itinerary around the question of "Where can I eat?" Just the act of booking a hotel, cruise, day trip, or restaurant meal can cause strain on your time and your relationships if your travel companions are not vegan or plant-based.
A recent report from GlobalData found that vegan-friendly tourism is experiencing a significant rise as catering for dietary preferences becomes more important. The report – released at the end of 2020 – surveyed 5,700 people globally and found that nearly 76 percent responded that ethical and environmental sourcing of food influenced their choices.
This was up significantly from the 46 percent who said so a year before, signifying a substantial shift among consumers who became increasingly concerned about environmental issues and personal nutrition during the pandemic.
Over the years, other tourism giants such as hotels, resorts, and chains have taken measures to accommodate the growing demand for plant-based travelers. In 2019, Hilton opened its first vegan hotel suite in London and Disney offers a full array of vegan items on its menu. Meanwhile, Four Seasons hotels are rolling out plant-based menus within their restaurants, curated and created by chef Matthew Kenney. Called Folia, these menus are offered at four restaurants so far and the number is growing.
New global travel platform launches to cater to plant-based travelers
This is why global travel platform Vegvisits, which promises to alleviate some of the stress of travel for anyone with a dietary restriction or who chooses a plant-based approach. Vegvisits aims to connect plant-based travelers to specific vegan or plant-based experiences that make it easy to stick to their chosen lifestyle approach. Founders Linsey and Nicholas Minnella felt inspired by a vegan host that help facilitate a plant-based traveling experience.
“Being on the road for so long, we didn’t have a clear idea of what home looked like anymore,” the founder state on the website. “All we knew was that we wanted to be around people who understood us, who shared a similar lifestyle, one that was becoming more important to us in daily life as we opened our eyes to new social, environmental, and ethical issues.”
The vegan travel resource struggled at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic following international travel restrictions. The company has since relaunched the platform in preparation for further expansion, Currently, Vegvisits is available in over 80 countries, and the company’s founders hope to expand the companies reach even further.
The vegan travel platform currently offers over 1,000 listings worldwide. The company requires hosts to maintain a plant-based household at all times during a guest’s stay, ensuring that travelers will have a completely plant-based experience. Vegvisits will also offer valuable local advice and guides from local vegans to better the travel experience of all guests. Plant-based or plant-forward travelers will be able to use the website to plan a travel itinerary with diet as a central factor.
“Vegvisits is a home-sharing platform for (and run by) the global community of vegans, vegetarians, and the veg-curious,” the website reads. “The idea was born out of a practical need to accommodate this specific world of locals and travelers. But ultimately we like to think of ourselves more as a tight-knit community of friends from around the world that haven’t quite met yet!”
“A common objective across the entire travel and tourism sector is to deliver a ‘seamless’ traveler experience for each customer along every touchpoint, on an individualized, trip-by-trip basis,” Travel and Tourism Analyst for Global Data Johanna Bonhill-Smith said.“Vegan travelers can often encounter problems ranging from where to stay to a lack of suitable meal choices.
“Language barriers and cultural differences can often exacerbate these problems. This creates an opportunity where personalized recommendations are lacking, and catering for a growing vegan consumer base could soon be a key differentiator.”
Vegvisits is joined by several other plant-based tourism platforms including Air Vegan that have emerged in recent years. The plant-forward travel resources plan to meet the rising interest in plant-based eating as travel restrictions begin to lower worldwide. Other companies such as VegeRadar provide resources for travelers looking to eat plant-based in cities across the world.
The GlobalData study emphasizes that following the pandemic, vegan tourism will experience a surge because consumers will become more interested in healthier living across the entire market, especially regarding travel.
“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,” Bonhill-Smith continued. “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”.