The tourism in Sweden has good opportunities to continue to grow, but faces major challenges associated with environmentally sustainable development. There are visions that Sweden will become the world's most sustainable destination.
– The entire hospitality industry is about traveling and the industry is still growing. We can’t destroy nature at the same time as tourism is an important growth engine for the whole Sweden. So the question is how to work sustainably with tourism and the hospitality industry in the long term, says Maria Ek Styvén, Project Manager and Associate Professor of Industrial Marketing.
Behavior and attitudes
The researchers believe that an important part of the change towards more sustainable tourism is the behavior and attitudes of young generations. Therefore, they will investigate how generation Y (people born in 1980-1994) and generation Z (people born in 1995-2010) look at sustainable traveling and how it affects what choices they make.
– Do they choose to travel in the immediate area for sustainability reasons? How do they look at vacationing in nature compared to sunshine holidays or big cities? Those who still live with their parents, what impact do they have on their parents when it comes to choice of destination and mode of travel? Do they feel that their views on sustainability aspects of traveling are different from their parents'? says Maria Ek Styvén.
– There are studies that indicate that generations Y and Z care more about environmentally sustainable travel than the previous generations, but there are also studies that indicate that they don’t, she says.
More knowledge is required
The researchers will also investigate how young generations spread information about their traveling, for example via social media. The next step will be to make proposals on how environmental sustainability can be communicated to reach these consumers.
– The hospitality industry needs to work with environmentally sustainable tourism for the sake of everyone's common future, but it also requires knowledge about the young generations to be able to communicate with them in a good way, says Maria Ek Styvén.
– Young travelers are vital for the future of tourism, partly because there are many of them already, partly because the choices they make can lead to new attitudes towards tourism in society and partly because young tourists will continue to travel, too, says Mary Ek Styvén.
The idea is that organizations and companies in the hospitality industry as well as municipalities, regions and schools should be able to benefit from research results.