Changing travel habits: Top 10 sustainable trends to improve tourism

DOne thing is true, travel is an immense force for good. There are many brilliant individuals and small businesses driving positive change by using tourism to support local communities and help restore nature.

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But travelers themselves are also changers. Simply choosing responsible experiences drives demand for them, and the industry responds accordingly.

On this World Tourism Day, here are 10 ways our vacation habits will change travel for the better in 2022.

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The 2-in-1 holiday



Simply choosing responsible experiences drives demand for them, and the industry responds accordingly

We cannot “compensate” ourselves from the climate crisis. However, flying less does not mean missing out. In fact, post-pandemic, we want to escape longer — just minus the massive footprint.

Her solution? The 2-in-1 adventure: Fewer flights, but no less vacation. Two consecutive rail-distance trips, often with a volunteer element.

Think culture in Italy followed by a handy conservation break nearby: fly less, stay longer and make vacations that count.

The Fast Rise of Slow Travel

Demand for “slow travel” has skyrocketed this year; but these mindful adventures are different for each of us.

Swap the plane for a train for a more sustainable adventure

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They can be literal – an epic round-the-world trip by train and boat, cooking your way through Japan or learning to drive a tuk-tuk in Thailand.

Whatever form it takes for you, it’s about forging deeper connections with local communities, nature and culture. Better for the places we visit and great for us too. No wonder it’s a post-pandemic favorite.

Chat with the locals

No volunteer vacation, but volunteer work on Holidays. Garbage picking and luxury travel may not be traditional bedfellows, but that’s changing fast.

Think afternoon beach clean-ups, from Cornwall to the Caribbean. Feel-good vacation bolt-ons are a great way to meet other travelers, network with the locals, and have fun while giving back.

microcruises

Megaliners swamp fragile destinations and contribute little to the communities they dock in, so it’s heartening to see the rise of a great alternative: microcruises.

And there’s a smorgasbord to choose from, including expert-led wildlife expeditions and pocket-sized island hopping. What they have in common is a smaller footprint and a positive local impact. Additionally, microcruises can penetrate the hidden corners of a destination — where their oversized counterparts can’t follow.

Safaris on the doorstep

Lockdowns have drawn us back into nature and it seems this has led to a growing demand for wildlife safaris close to home, with Scotland and Sweden proving particularly popular.

We may not have the Big Five – but you do will find bears, wolves, moose and lynx roaming our European backyard. In Britain you can spot whales, bison and deer, basking sharks and golden eagles.

Get back to nature, closer to home

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Nature tourism helps promote habitat restoration and wildlife conservation. And as if that weren’t enough, healthy habitats — from forests to wetlands — are Earth’s natural carbon sink that is critical to addressing the climate crisis.

Blockbuster adventures on a budget

Bucket list travel is back. But rising living costs and climate anxiety have led to greater demand for more pocket-friendly and planet-friendly options.

Big adventures don’t have to cost the earth. Many of us trade chain hotels for the comfort of homestay, which is often much cheaper, with the benefit of traditional home cooking and priceless local insight. They’re a great way to get to know a destination better — and it’ll directly benefit locals, too.

Human-powered exploration

When we weren’t baking banana bread during lockdown, many of us stepped up our fitness routines – and that’s reflected in our holidays.

Explore the area on a gentle canoe or kayak ride

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In addition to the increased interest in fitness retreats close to nature, such as triathlon training and mountain running, the demand for muscle strength tours – such as hiking and cycling trips – has also risen sharply this year.

But by far the biggest increase has been in kayaking on rivers and lakes – a fun, healthy and low-carbon way to escape the crowds and explore a destination from a different perspective.

Alternatives to winter vacation

Winter vacation is more than downhill ski areas. And the actions many are now taking in response to global warming, including the use of destructive snow cannons, are misleading them.

Alternative winter activities are gaining traction this year, from snowshoeing through Romanian villages to wildlife safaris in the Scottish Highlands and Sami stays in Swedish Lapland. Locally run, nature-friendly and not a snow cannon in sight.

Beyond sustainability

Gone are the days of leaving “only footprints”.

Amid rising climate scares, we are becoming more responsible consumers, be it in our grocery or fashion purchases. Increasingly, this also flows into our holiday selection.

Today’s responsible travelers are tired of “compensating” and “leaving no trace” for greenwashing – and are instead actively seeking vacations with maximum positive impact. Nature-friendly travel – vacations from city breaks to safaris that contribute to the restoration of biodiversity – is particularly popular.

Less visited destinations like Montenegro are becoming increasingly popular

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Less explored paths and seasonal changes

Getting off the beaten track is becoming more and more attractive.

Interest in Montenegro, for example, has increased by over 160 percent among our travelers this year – more than in any other travel destination. We’ve also seen a notable change in if People travel, and many trade summer vacations for fall and winter getaways.

A responsible distribution of tourism across regions and seasons could help reduce the burden of over-tourism in popular hotspots. You will also get to know another side of a travel destination.

Finnish Lapland in summer, anyone?