How curiosity and globalization are driving a new approach to travel

holidat

Oia, Greece (Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kris Naudts, Founder and CEO, Culture Trip


Today’s political climate and negative headlines seem to point towards a more inward-looking global population – minds narrowing, borders going up. But with more people living and working overseas and becoming exposed to influences from different cultures, many of us are seeking an outward-looking, connected world.

According to the recently published cultural mindset study from Culture Trip, 60% of people in the US and UK say that their outlook on life is shaped by influences from different cultures. As a society, we not only want to discover and experience other cultures, we want to learn from them, too. This is one of the many positive side effects of globalization. At the same time, the economic landscape of the last decade has resulted in a shift in values away from materialism, with younger generations more interested in collecting experiences than possessions.

Welcome to the ‘new culture economy’

The collision of two trends – globalization and the experience economy – has ignited a new travel zeitgeist with cultural curiosity at its heart. This is the ‘new culture economy’. The phenomenon is having a profound impact on people’s interactions and definitions of cultural exploration, and presents an incredible commercial opportunity.

While globalization is usually talked about in the context of the sharing of trade and capital between countries, we shouldn’t forget that the driving force behind it all is people. Education, travel, exposure to other customs and geographies and the cultural mashup that emerges are the more influential social effects of globalization. People are increasingly living or working in countries other than the ones in which they were born – more than half of respondents (53%) from the cultural mindset study have friends living overseas, while 78% have friends or family of different nationalities and ethnicities, all of which results in more interaction with global cultures.

Alongside this, the confines of student debt and unaffordable housing have created a shift in spending patterns, and so a new set of values has emerged in which experiences matter more than ownership. Travel is fundamental to most people’s lives – in fact, nearly half of all respondents (43%) make compromises on their daily expenses so they can save money to travel more. For ‘generation rent’ in particular, no matter how expensive an experience or a trip, it is still more affordable than a house.

Why we travel

People’s social and personal contexts shape their cultural open-mindedness. How individuals engage with their immediate surroundings – people, communities and shared culture codes – is further influenced by the expansion of social media. People’s social networks not only expose them to digital influencers – they also keep them connected to friends or family living in other parts of the world, providing another, more personal ‘way in’ to other cultures.

The unique combination of these cultural, social and personal drivers has helped us to identify four cultural mindsets, mapped on a spectrum of cultural curiosity:

1. Culturally aware: The motivation to travel among this group is anchored in pleasure. They seek out familiarity and select destinations close to home or reflective of their own culture. They are superficially interested in different cultures and want to experience them from a dispassionate distance.

2. Culturally curious – Those with this mindset travel to discover new things and disrupt their everyday routines. They seek some familiarity, but also want to explore boundaries. Quantity is important; they want to ‘collect’ experiences and countries. They want to be seen as someone who is interested in culture, but this is often expressed in terms of visual interest and well-known sites or architecture.

3. Culturally immersive – For this group, travel is all about adventure and personal progression or growth. Travel is their identity; they are trendsetters and trailblazers who want to explore places where others haven’t been. They want to be seen as highly cultured and as ‘explorers’; they are happy to celebrate when things go wrong, which they see as the key ingredient to making memories. They travel all over the world, often off the beaten path, as they search for differences from their predictable world back home.

4. Culturally fluid – This group’s identity is shaped by their familiarity with travel; they are natural nomads with travel in their DNA. They feel at home everywhere and have adopted a hybrid cultural identity. Very interested in exploring, analysing and immersing themselves in deeper cultural codes. Memories are often tied to experiences with people that represent the culture they’re travelling to rather than sites or activities.

The environmental trade-off

The cultural mindset research also sheds light on how people perceive the effect of tourism on the environment and the measures they take to reduce their impact. Two in five millennials (42%) – more than any other generation – worry that tourism has a negative impact on the environment and over a third (37%) limit how much they travel to reduce their impact. They are also the most likely amongst the generations to eat locally sourced food (58%).

 

There is a general consensus among respondents that recycling is important, with three in four people saying they take recycling seriously. Perhaps more worryingly for the future, Generation Zs (those aged 18-24) are 11% less likely to recycle than average, and the least likely of the generations to eat locally sourced food (46%).

Further analysis of the research reveals the attributes and mindsets of those who rank highly for environmental concerns. High levels of environmental concern are linked to openness to other cultures, a desire to continually learn new things and be educated, as well as a natural inclination towards living or working in multiple places. Those with higher levels of environmental concern are 58% more likely to say their outlook on life is shaped by influences from different cultures than those with a low concern for the environment. They are also 70% more likely to seek out cultures different from their own whenever they can.

Interest in global exploration and exposure to other cultures is closely linked to a high level of concern about the impact of tourism on the environment. While most people won’t curb their desire to travel entirely, the correlation between cultural openness and environmental concern confirms that the two behaviours are connected – those that see the world are also the ones taking measures in their everyday lives to offset their impact on the environment. In essence, caring about the world makes you want to see the world; seeing the world makes you care about the world.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Kellen Europe Hosts EuroConference 2016

Coronavirus response and recovery: EU support for regions to work together in innovative pilot projects

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

Microsoft says the internet is getting a little nicer

Iraq: UN mission urges ‘maximum restraint’ following deadly attack on foreign troops

Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law

Syria’s groundbreaking constitutional talks: ‘a clear success of mediation’ says Guterres in Turkey

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

African Peace Facility: African Union Peace & Security Operations boosted by an additional €800 million from the European Union

We need better alignment between climate and trade. Here’s a roadmap

Antimicrobial resistance: how can an intersectoral approach between society and healthcare professionals be developed and applied?

COVID vaccination campaign. What are the challenges?

This project is decarbonizing the UK area with the highest industrial CO2 emissions

Precision medicine should be accessible to all

Apparently the EU Digital Single Market passes necessarily from China’s Digital Silk Road

As the year closes out, UN political chief talks the art of diplomacy – and crises to watch in 2019.

To flourish in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to rethink these 3 things

The US pipeline attack shows the energy sector must act now on cybersecurity. Here are 6 ways how

The current devaluation of primary health care professionals

State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

Why women have an essential role in biodiversity conservation

Election 2019: New, Updated seat projection for new Parliament

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

The rise of vulnerable populations and care measures: what has been learned so far in times of the pandemic

Climate experts pledge to scale up high-altitude fight against mountain melt

‘No-deal’ Brexit preparedness: European Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach

This Canadian company transforms plastic waste into building materials

Mergers: Commission refers acquisition of newly created joint venture by Telefónica and Liberty Global to the UK competition authority

This is Amsterdam’s ambitious plan to turn its transport electric

Does EURES really exist?

How central banks are tackling climate change risks

We had the hottest June ever this year – this is what happened around the world

This is how good governance can make sure technology works for everyone

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

MEPs demand safe and clean travel

Why we must reimagine capacity building to strengthen education after COVID-19

Entrepreneurship’s key to success showcased by a serial young entrepreneur

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

Newly displaced fleeing attacks in northeast Nigeria, top 2,000

African elephants under continued threat of poaching, warns UN-backed report

To build back better, we must reinvent capitalism. Here’s how

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

10 ways regulators need to change in 2020

Humans account for only 0.01% of life on Earth – but our impact has been immense

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

GSMA Announces Latest Event Updates for 2018 “Mobile World Congress Americas, in Partnership with CTIA”

The key takeaways of G7 Summit in Canada

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights : the role of medical students.

How the digital economy is shaping a new Bangladesh

UN commission agrees roadmap on ensuring women’s social protection, mobility, safety, and access to economic opportunities

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

How a ‘recipe dataset’ could help tackle obesity and diabetes

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

Focus on EU’s external action and building our stronger inner core: von der Leyen at the Special European Council

EU decides “in absentia” of civil society

State aid: Commission approves €650 million Polish support to LOT in context of coronavirus outbreak

Commission’s report shows that targeted investment and robust digital policies boost Member States’ performance

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

Why cybersecurity should be standard due diligence for investors

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s