Unlocking the Canine Travel Market: A Gold Mine for Hospitality and Tourism, says University of Surrey Research

by Lisa

New research from the University of Surrey suggests that becoming more dog-friendly could prove to be a lucrative opportunity for the hospitality and tourism industry. The research team encourages tourism providers to capitalize on the growing market influenced by the substantial impact of dog ownership on travel behaviors.

The study, estimated to be worth USD $50.1 billion by 2030, reveals the potential of the expanding dog-friendly travel market. The surge in U.K. household dog ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic has created a demand for tourism providers to adapt their offerings to cater to these four-legged family members.


The Surrey research team aimed to understand the motivations behind people traveling with their dogs, their sentiments about it, and the challenges they encounter. The findings, published in the Journal of Vacation Marketing, shed light on the significant influence of dog ownership on travel decisions and behaviors.


Lead author of the study and Ph.D. Researcher at the University of Surrey, Lori Hoy, stated, “With reports suggesting that the U.K. dog population stands at 11 million and 29% of U.K. adults having a dog in their home, 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.”


Hoy emphasized the importance of understanding the decision-making process of people traveling with their dogs. This understanding enables tourism providers to offer tailored, dog-friendly services and communication channels that resonate with this audience.


Key findings from the research include:

Dog Well-being Beliefs: Traveling with dogs is perceived to enhance their well-being and happiness, significantly impacting owners’ intentions to travel.

Information Acquisition: Owners’ confidence in obtaining dog-friendly travel information influences their motivation to travel, affecting the choice of location and accommodation for their holidays.

Perceived Risks: Concerns about potential issues with transportation, accommodation, and activities negatively impact the decision to travel with dogs, although they do not affect the intention to travel.

Lori Hoy concluded, “Embracing a dog-friendly approach in tourism goes beyond mere tolerance. It’s about creating a welcoming atmosphere and services tailored for the well-being of both dogs and their best friends. By offering engaging activities, understanding dogs as sentient beings, and providing easily accessible information about dog-specific policies, tourism providers can position themselves as truly dog-friendly destinations, meeting the needs and expectations of both dogs and their guardians.”


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