Have we ever been more excited to ring in a new year?! A new year always gives us a renewed power to dream and to start afresh with resolutions, goals, and aspirations for the days to come. After a year where travel was seemingly on pause, the silver lining was that our precious planet had a momentary reset, giving all of us an opportunity to be more thoughtful about making more sustainable choices when we travel. Below I’m sharing a bit more about the power of thoughtful tourism and how our travel choices impact economies in a major way. Whatever your goals are this year, here’s to you and to making those dreams a reality!
Virtuoso has a host of communities that advisors can join to deepen their knowledge on specific travel niches. These communities give us a chance to engage with – and learn from – partners that are setting the standards in their spaces in focus areas that range from culinary to wellness. I joined a few communities that I resonated with most, including one I believe is critically important as an overarching theme for travel – sustainability. We’re seeing this shift in the travel community in so many ways: hotels are finding avenues to have a genuine impact in local communities, more inclusive programs are focusing on cross-cultural connections, destinations are celebrating the slow food movement and locally sourced inputs, and travelers broadly are more aware of their impact when they explore.
This same conversation parlays into one about the impact of tourism on local economies, too. 2020 has been a challenging year for tourism-based economies around the globe where those funds are critical for conservation work, social development, and sustainable livelihoods. Being based on a Caribbean island fueled nearly entirely by tourism, we know how important tourism dollars are to the standard of living, and we see the impact – and feel the gratitude – daily. Destinations that have chosen to reopen to tourism have generally established protocols in an effort to balance local health and the economy, knowing that income from tourism helps fund critical social services, conservation efforts, and community initiatives. By traveling in a thoughtful, safe, and sustainable way, we’re helping contribute to a conscious global reboot of tourism.
So, what does the idea of sustainability look like when we talk travel?
🎏 Celebrating local culture and safeguarding historic sites – We typically hire local guides to share key spots with us when we travel. There’s no better way to get insight into the history of a destination, plus gain an on-the-ground perspective while supporting local guides.
🏨 Choosing hotel properties wisely – Help your advisor understand what makes you tick so we can choose hotels that are aligned with your ideals. Whether that’s a focus on alternative energy or seeking out properties with non-profit arms, there are fabulous hotels around the globe focused on local impact.
🌍 Protecting the planet – Conserve water and energy, reduce plastic waste, use reef-friendly SPF, be extremely thoughtful about any experiences involving wildlife, look for locally sourced inputs when dining… there are so many small changes that we can each make to help keep our earth green for future generations.
While many of us turned a blind eye, prior to 2020 we were facing a crisis of overtourism in a number of destinations. You’d find cities like Venice and Dubrovnik heaving with tourists during peak season, leaving the city’s infrastructure strained. At natural sites like Machu Picchu and Komodo, we’ve recently seen either increased visa or park fees or limitations on the number of visitors in an effort to preserve these spaces for future generations. How do we combat overtourism? Well, that’s a conversation that we can all actively contribute to but a good starting point is to consider visiting alternate/up-and-coming destinations that could be a good fit for your needs. If going off-the-beaten path interests you, we can chat about destinations and experiences that wow you and try to find interesting locales that fit your needs to explore sans crowds. Can we say win-win?
How do you perceive sustainability in the context of travel? Do you make any conscious choices when packing, choosing hotels, or even selecting your destination?
Our fundamental belief at Compass & Vine is that travel can be transformative. The trips that really make us tick - the ones that we remember for a lifetime - go beyond a list of destinations that we're checking off. It's about delving into experiential opportunities that allow us to truly connect with a destination and have a sense of place.
We know how important your trips are and how valuable your time is. Your trip isn't about ticking off boxes, it's about enjoying new experiences and making amazing memories in exciting destinations.
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