French bulldog in sunglasses sunbathing at seaside resort and wear a Hawaiian shirt lounging on deck chair with a fruity cocktail. Vacation rest in hot country beach concept. Generative AI Technology.

French bulldog in sunglasses sunbathing at seaside resort (© Valeriia - stock.adobe.com)

GUILDFORD, United Kingdom — It’s not a “ruff” time for canine tourism, as the industry is fetching billions of dollars. A team in the United Kingdom is shedding light on the rapidly growing dog-friendly travel market, which is projected to reach a staggering $50 billion by 2030. Moreover, they’re revealing how travel-related businesses can cash in on this booming trend.

This surge is linked to an increase in dog ownership, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many households now consider their dogs to be integral family members, prompting a shift in the tourism industry to cater to these four-legged companions.

The new study examined the reasons why more people are now traveling with their dogs, their experiences, and the obstacles they encounter.

“Some reports suggest that the U.K. dog population stands at 11 million, with 29 percent of U.K. adults having a dog in their home. So, it stands to reason that more people want to include their canine best friend in their holiday plans. Tourism providers who embrace this trend stand to benefit significantly,” says study lead author Lori Hoy, a PhD researcher at the University of Surrey, in a university release.

The study’s findings are crucial for tourism businesses. Hoy advises these providers to offer clear, accessible information about dog-friendly services and to highlight how travel experiences can be enjoyable for both dogs and their owners.

“Understanding what influences the decision-making process of people who want to travel with their dogs will enable destinations, accommodation providers, attractions, and transport suppliers to offer tailored, dog-friendly services and communication channels that resonate with this audience,” explains Hoy.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash)

Four key social perceptions form the basis of the study: the human-dog bond, beliefs about dog well-being, information gathering, and perceived risks. These factors greatly influence dog owners’ decision-making regarding holiday spending.

Key insights from the research include:

  • Dog Well-being Beliefs: Owners are motivated to travel with their dogs as they believe it enhances their pets’ wellbeing and happiness.
  • Information Acquisition: Confidence in finding dog-friendly travel information heavily influences owners’ travel decisions, affecting their choice of location and accommodation.
  • Perceived Risks: Concerns about potential issues with transportation, accommodation, and activities while traveling with dogs impact the final decision to travel, though they do not deter the initial intention.

Hoy emphasizes that a dog-friendly approach in tourism should go beyond tolerance, focusing on creating a welcoming environment for dogs and their owners.

“This involves offering engaging activities, understanding dogs as sentient beings that are part of the leisure experience, and providing easily accessible information about dog-specific policies,” notes Hoy. “Additionally, targeted marketing and clear communication about dog-friendly offerings are essential. By doing so, tourism providers can not only enhance the experience for those traveling with dogs but also position themselves as truly dog-friendly destinations, meeting the needs and expectations of both dogs and their guardians.”

The study is published in the Journal Of Vacation Marketing.

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1 Comment

  1. Ge says:

    People that insist on bringing their stupid dogs everywhere need to be stopped.

    I’ve seen idiots bring their dangerous, worm ridden pitbulls into playgrounds, dirty dogs in the grocery stores, dog crap in the hardware store aisle…
    Enough— dogs don’t belong everywhere.