Can Sustainability Inoculate the Travel Industry?
By Jason Jourdan
In our pre-pandemic world, sustainable travel was trending as more travelers were seeking out options to reduce the impact of their trips. Now that Del Griffith (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on the travel industry, what role will sustainability play in rebuilding?
The sustainable travel movement is likely to move to the forefront of recovery efforts as the pandemic has shown how detrimental travel can be for health and safety, the environment, and local communities. One Planet Network recently held a Transforming Tourism Event for a resilient and sustainable post COVID world. The virtual conference provided an overview of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism. It brought proposals for aligning recovery plans to global objectives set for health, sustainability, and climate change.
Signs of support within the industry are everywhere as we see travel businesses and destinations embracing creativity and innovation. They are working together to future-proof the survival of this industry. According to strategic market researcher Euromonitor International, some of the Top Global Trends 2021 will include expectations for businesses to prioritize the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profits. Euromonitor International’s data shows consumers looking to the outdoors for their leisure and recreation. As safety becomes the new wellness movement, the benefits of connectedness and distance from crowds will drive future travel considerations.
Sustainability offers travelers more than carbon-credits. It provides opportunities for the conscientious traveler to understand the impact their tourism dollars make on a destination. Reimagined travel in 2021 includes booking stays in establishments proven to impact their community and the environment positively. Tourism education and advocacy nonprofit Impact Travel Alliance outlines steps on empowering locals and protecting the environment.
Book Different rate accommodations for eco-friendliness. Supporting sustainable businesses and destinations like eco-friendly private islands reduces the impact on climate and reduces exposure to crowds. There is a myriad of experience providers who specialize in sustainable travel options like:
Work from home may lead to an increase in the opportunity for vacation travel. In many ways, luxury travel will make it easier to ensure sustainable trips giving travelers more freedom to choose eco-friendly hotels and operators. A survey conducted by Kimono Tea Ceremony Kyoto Maikoya, a top-rated provider of authentic Japanese tea ceremony experiences, asked international travelers about their future travel plans and priorities:
62% Plan to visit small towns vs. historic cities
54% Report less frequent, but longer trips
52% Say they will travel more
A significant number of those surveyed cited the importance of taking fewer trips while focusing on longer experiences and supporting localized providers and businesses. These impromptu responses may be among the most reliable indicators of the growing movement towards sustainability in the travel industry.
Wherever you travel, keep yourself and others safe by wearing a face covering, maintaining appropriate social distance. Wash your hands and be mindful of the following precautions:
- Consider staying in a private villa rather than a large hotel
- Work with an experienced travel advisor on an itinerary prioritizing private excursions and transportation whenever possible.
- Ensure your travel insurance includes coverage for COVID-19 related circumstances
Eco-friendly travel businesses and destinations empower ethical consumers with more opportunities to do their part to future-proof the travel industry! Sustainability, in concert with Point Comfort® International Travel Medical Insurance's protection, is transitioning the sector to a value-driven economy, one that addresses inequity and environmental change.
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