Travel with Care - A Global Resource for Responsible Traveler Education and Marketing

A man standing in front of a waterfall on rocks
by Chris Adams
Head of Research & Insights

Travel with Care is the world’s leading resource on responsible travel messaging, education and marketing for destinations, governments and the broader tourism industry. This free platform, supported by Miles Partnership and Purdue University’s Sustainable & Responsible Tourism Lab, will collect and share knowledge, best practices and research to empower destinations to foster more responsible travel.

Travel with Care will continue to be updated with new research, analysis, case studies and discussions. Contributions in the form of new research, case studies or opinion articles are welcomed from industry or academic partners; please contact Travel with Care here. Currently, the site already features:

  • A global review of responsible travel messaging across 200+ DMOs

  • Guidelines, content and global resources for developing responsible travel education and marketing

  • Case studies of responsible travel messaging programs from around the world 

  • Best practices in responsible travel messaging

As part of Travel with Care’s research and resources, a global review of the current state of responsible traveler education and marketing was conducted. This included a review of the official tourism websites of more than 200 leading DMOs, including all U.S. states, all Canadian provinces, 75 CVBs and more than 30 national tourism organizations from around the world. From this assessment, it was estimated that around one-third of DMOs have made a reasonably robust commitment to responsible traveler education and messaging. But, nearly half (46%) of DMOs have no responsible traveler content or messaging at all. Based on this assessment and related research, six features of the most successful examples of responsible traveler education and marketing were identified:

  1. Be simple, clear and visual 

  2. Integrate across your marketing and communications

  3. Connect and engage with visitors and locals

  4. Focus on your paint points

  5. Partner with the industry, the community and other stakeholders 

  6. Match responsible-traveler marketing with practical action 

1. Be Simple, Clear and Visual 

For responsible traveler marketing and education to get "cut through," the messaging needs to be accessible, clear, concise and visually engaging. 

Tiaki promise graphic

Example: Tiaki Promise, New Zealand. Beautiful and highly visual, the Tiaki Promise is a polished example of clear and simple messaging. 

2. Integrate Across Your Marketing and Communications

Responsible traveler education should not be occasional messaging or an isolated campaign but must be integrated across all of your communications and marketing to travelers, industry and locals. 

Colorado ad above a water fountain

Example: Colorado Tourism Office. Do Colorado Right messaging can be found across a huge range of content types, media channels and activations, including the water refill stations at Denver International Airport.

3. Connect and Engage with Visitors and Locals 

Responsible travel behavior is a team sport. Successful messaging and marketing should ask the visitor, industry partner or local resident to actively engage and take responsibility for their behavior. 

Icelandic pledge graphics

Example: The Icelandic Pledge is a fun take on traveler guidelines that ask travelers to commit by taking a pledge. 

4. Focus on Your Pain Points

Responsible traveler education and marketing should focus on the behaviors (positive or negative) that are most impactful in your destination. 

Amsterdam ad

Example: Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Amsterdam has been a long-time pioneer in shifting from visitor marketing to visitor education. This includes direct messages telling visitors what not to do and even asking “nuisance-causing visitors” to stay away. 

5. Partner with Industry, Community and Other Stakeholders

Effective and impactful responsible-traveler education should be developed and activated in consultation and partnership with industry, government and community partners. 

Example: Breckenridge, Colorado. Breckenridge stands out for engaging not only with visitors but also with businesses and local residents, asking them to “B Like Breckenridge” and act as responsible stewards of their special Rocky Mountain community. 

6. Match the Responsible Traveler Marketing with Practical Action

Are you “walking the talk?” Visitor education and marketing should be matched by meaningful investment in protecting and restoring the natural environment, infrastructure and local communities. This includes directing some of the significant tax revenue generated by tourism into these areas. This avoids any potential criticism of “greenwashing” and reinforces responsible traveler messaging by demonstrating to visitors that you are truly committed to sustainable tourism. 

a young boy and his dad cycling

Example: Visit Scotland. Scotland, home to the “Glasgow Declaration on Climate Change,” backs their responsible-traveler education with a broad commitment to sustainable tourism as outlined in Scotland’s “Sustainability Policy.” 

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