Vegan tourism has emerged as a special interest segment gaining traction in recent years. With that, more vegan-friendly options are sprouting up on the tourism scene as travel brands hunger after a piece of the meat-free pie. Cheryl Ong examines the flourishing trend.
The slow but sure rise of veganism in recent years as consumers awake to the health and environmental benefits of going meat-free has resultantly set vegan tourism on the path of steady growth.
Veganism has been vaunted as the more sustainable food option that is good for both the people and the planet, as a plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet.
Veganism as a lifestyle
Many vegan tour operators go beyond serving up an itinerary filled with plant-based menu options, to also include sustainable initiatives such as local community involvement.
For Fairkonnect, its sustainable vegan tours are as much about the food, as they are about connecting with various animal conservation initiatives and visiting environmental projects.
Currently, the company works with various organisations and holds workshops on its trips to educate travellers on conscious travel, animal conservation, environmental efforts and veganism.
“Our trips are curated to teach travellers about global issues and movements around sustainable fashion, veganism, climate change, zero-waste, animal conservation and how to travel while making a low environmental impact,” explained Jujjavarapu, adding that the company is also mindful about keeping its trips as zero-waste as possible.
With the growing tide towards environmentalism, Jujjavarapu hopes for the company to work with bigger outfitters and organisations to help them veganise their trips.
Further, Fairkonnect prides itself on supporting local communities with its vegan tours by working with local organisations, visiting local restaurants and patronising small businesses.
That sustainability ethos also guides VegThisCity’s tours. A shared meal in a private farm, a botanical art session with a social enterprise and a lavish vegan feast in a 100-year-old establishment are among some of the tour experiences designed to not only celebrate local multicultural cuisine in a fresh way and showcase local culture, but also empower local communities.
Khemlani also recognises that veganism is a lifestyle that goes beyond food, and that philosophy is reflected in the company’s line-up for the coming months – from showcasing locally-made vegan lifestyle products on its tours and collaborating on wellness programmes such as the upcoming Recharge Retreat with Grand Hyatt to organising multi-day vegan adventures and pop-ups within homes of local hosts.
While still currently a niche market, vegan tourism is ripe for growth. No longer just appealing to vegans and vegetarians, vegan vacations are gaining traction among a broader segment of health and environmentally conscious travellers.
Tour operator Responsible Travel, which offers a range of vegan and vegetarian holidays across the world including many parts of Asia, has seen a spike in demand generally for healthier and more sustainable holiday options, including food choices, shared its co-founder and CEO, Justin Francis.
“(Vegan holidays) are no longer only the preserve of yoga and wellness retreats. Any holiday can be a vegan holiday, or at least, inclusively so,” he said.
Post-pandemic, Francis predicts that demand for vegan tourism will continue on its upward trajectory, and that travel businesses will become much more inclusive of veganism and actively raise their game to offer the choicest vegan experiences.