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RISMEDIA, October 6, 2009—The lingering recession has led to a reevaluation of consumer priorities–a movement dubbed “conscious consumption.” This social shift in consumer behavior blends newfound frugality with sustainability, and it has seeped into every industry- from automotive to travel. When people part with their money these days, they expect to purchase more than a car or vacation. They demand valuable investments and meaningful getaways- a trend that many experts believe is here to stay. 

According to a July 2009 Gallup poll, consumers expect that curtailed spending will become their “new normal pattern for years ahead.” As David Kenny, managing partner of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi, says about the national quest for value, “People will emerge from the current recession forever changed. The global recession has changed them. Environmental realities have changed them. New global leadership has changed them.” 

Conscious consumption and the changes in consumer attitudes have made a distinct impact on the travel industry. Gone are the days when vacation resorts could find success simply by touting a “sun and fun” message that focused on pure luxury. Travelers in this new conservative climate crave meaning and connection. And as people spend more hours at work, they want to pack their vacations with experiences and memories that last long after they’ve returned to their desks. 

In response to this, travel offerings now strive to include meaningful experiences and promote togetherness among travelers. High-priced destinations have seen a huge fall off, but vacations in destinations that encourage connection to your travel partners, nature, history or culture are the new vogue.