During the ongoing pandemic, most travel is on hold, but the decrease in tourism has a silver lining.
The clearer waters, such as in the once cruise-ship-central Venice Canal, as well as a reduction in smog, such as in L.A. and India’s once overly-populated cities, proves just how discontent we were making the planet (pre-Covid). This may have you thinking that the next tourism trend is, in fact, not traveling, but we are leaning towards the more realistic option of rethinking the way we travel.
Sustainability is now being put at the forefront for travel, getting everyone to rethink our ethics and how we handle tourism. Both the travel industry (companies, airlines, etc.) and travelers alike, are forced to make more responsible decisions regarding destinations, methods of travel, and activities while abroad.
Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, predicts that in a post-pandemic world, travelers will be more interested in having a positive impact on the environment they visit. With more focus on the outdoors and less-visited places, the sustainable tourism movement, including destinations struggling with overtourism, will benefit.
Along with making a positive impact, travelers are also expected to be more interested in meaningful, local experiences abroad.
Larger companies are turning towards more sustainable options as they strategize innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint and benefit local communities. The transformation in the travel industry is supporting more global initiatives and conservation efforts than ever before. This includes companies offering smaller cruise-ship travel, resorts committing to sustainability, and companies offering more activities that directly benefit the local community.
The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organization created by The Travel Corporation, supports sustainable tourism projects all around the world (including an Indigenous artist initiative in Toronto). These projects all aim to positively impact people and communities, care for the planet, and protect wildlife and marine life. TreadRight is leading many other brands, including the popular Contiki Tours, to make commitments to sustainability such as partnering with local restaurants and hiring local guides for their group trips.
Intrepid Travel is also launching a series of initiatives and partnerships to support the sustainable travel movement. Advocating for zero net-emissions by 2030, ending exploitative wildlife tourism, empowering communities, and creating stronger governance and compliance in their travel destinations, are among The Intrepid Foundation’s key focus areas.
“It really matters if you’re doing the right thing and using the power of travel and the power of your business to do good.” – Greg Takehara, CEO of Tourism Cares.
You might be asking, “And how can I make a positive impact?”
Other than reducing your waste and urging companies to be more energy efficient, we can strive towards protecting communities and cultures in underdeveloped travel destinations.
Visit places and choose travel companies that fund the building of wells, schools, and hospitals, help locals start their own businesses, and support the protection of animals.
In these unprecedented times, the more people working together for one cause, the better.
Feeling hopeful for the future of travel, yet? I sure am.
I'm a curious, creative, enthusiastic individual with an eye for a good story. As a Bachelor of Public Relations graduate from Humber College, I am passionate about communications and DE&I and sustainability issues. Find me happiest while drinking coffee, snuggled up to my dog, and reading a book or learning about local cultural hotspots.