· 5 months ago

How do we bring impact travel to a larger audience?

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Project manager, TravaPowa

In our journey towards a more sustainable world, “impact travel” solutions can provide travellers with experiences that positively mark the destinations they visit.

However, there are a few considerations that are crucial to a major breakthrough in impact travel:

1. The paradox that “going mainstream” is not sustainable by its very nature (e.g. mass tourism)

2. Protecting the authentic essence and brand value of “impact travel” so it doesn’t become another marketing tagline

3. Moving beyond simple KPIs to ensure we make a measurable, positive change in the real lives of people

Do you think "impact travel" is feasible for the tourism industry to achieve at a wider scale? What other challenges does impact travel face to become a significant force and transform people's lives and society? Appreciate your feedback!

PS: If you are interested in this topic, we invite you to join the TravaPowa impact travel community (follow the links in my profile).

5 months ago (edited)
Photo Journalist, RK Journeyman

New travelers and those concerned about the unknown are attracted to mass tourism. So many terms and images used to intice visitors; Off the beaten path, Bucket list, top 20 Quaint villages, the single person gazing at the wonderful view, all contribute to the negative impact tourism has. I like the term mindful travel to describe small group and independent travel. I encourage tour groups to identify places that are particularly proud of a specific local interest. Often towns will have festivals and events that celebrate what they have to offer. That's when they are wanting likeminded folks to visit! Lets examine the positive impacts that help communities. I ask folks planning on traveling, "What are you passionate about?" This gets right past sightseeing and things to do notions. When people say they visited Italy Spain, France and England in 12 days, it means they are the tourists the hordes are made of. Focus on bringing together communities and like minded visitors,that will have a big impact.

5 months ago (edited)
Project manager, TravaPowa

I've been observing and studying these behaviours for a while and I'm still shocked by the amount of "mindful travellers" with very low empathy and awareness, and at the same time I don't feel to blame all "mass tourists" as often it's just people not used to travelling that "trust" what market leaders have to offer.
The challenge is to take your proposal out of a niche where you often arrive after a certain evolution as a traveller. If we could get a broad acceptance of this viewpoint among young travellers it could be a turning point for the future.

5 months ago
Photo Journalist, RK Journeyman

Good thoughts. I've seen a tremendous change in the offerings from tour companies and destinations. One campaign of interest is the "Travel alone with others like you." It's a great way to allieviate the fear of being alone in a foreign land. One thing I ponder is the fact that mass tourism is less expensive than Small group independent travel. That's one issue that is hard to address if a goal is to reduce the size/impact of mass tourism. An interesting reaction these days is the rejection of hordes of people by the popular destinations.
A rural community in the USA just closed the road to Fall leaflookers. Destinations are finding positive ways to share their experiences with visitors as well.

5 months ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

When we turn up to destinations with the intent of "making a positive impact", are we more or less some kind of modern-day tourist missionary? Did anyone actually ask us to visit?

As a counter argument to "impact travel", look at China. They lifted 800 million people out of poverty and into the middle class since their economic reforms in the 1980s — and didn't need any tourists to do that! And you still need to apply for a visa to visit.

Thinking about this, it struck me that most people visit destinations without an invitation. It's not like we asked the locals on the street if we could visit before we decided to show up. So what makes us entitled as travelers to believe that we're doing a local community a great service by visiting them? Instead of say (like China) by staying at home and just buying the goods they make?

With this in mind, I believe "impact travel" is less about "doing good" and more about "doing less bad" when we visit destinations. Take only memories, leave only footprints, etc.

Bringing the concept of impact travel to more people will require simplifying the concept to make it easier to communicate and spread the message. If you have to think too hard about it, then it will never take off.

5 months ago (edited)
Project manager, TravaPowa

Mitigating negative externalities should have been done by existing companies long ago.
Impact Travel is more about a desire for change and being part of it, rather than some kind of Net Zero impact. Hopefully it will become a mix of the two. I think it is a social trend to which there is still no structured correspondence in tourism.

5 months ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Good point, I agree that it's a social trend. I just hope the trend of impact travel doesn't lean towards "I'm saving the planet" and instead focuses more on "I'm traveling better than last time".

The tourism industry has a fixation on being a "force for good" and that takes us down the former route, which I feel misses the point.

I'd like to see impact travel based around the industry offering more choices and enabling travelers the ability to make informed decisions about what a "better" choice may be. Demand will steer businesses in the right direction.

5 months ago
Host/Culture Guide

Walking Tours - something I'm so passionate about - has the lowest impact on the environment!👍😀No ain't this for real...

4 months ago
Founder of Visit-slovenia.eu and E.S.H. consulting

Bringing impact travel to a larger audience requires a multifaceted approach that involves education, collaboration, and community engagement. To consider:

Education and Awareness:
Content Creation: Create engaging and informative content, including articles, videos, and social media posts, to educate people about the concept of impact travel, its benefits, and how it makes a positive difference in local communities and the environment.

Workshops and Webinars: Organize workshops, webinars, and seminars to raise awareness about sustainable and responsible travel practices. Invite experts and influencers to share their experiences and insights.

This is one of the important things we do and believe in our company, www.visit-slovenia.eu

3 months ago
Project manager, TravaPowa

Then we should make time to get to know each other because that's what we do at TravaPowa.
I'll get to you with a DM

3 months ago
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How do we bring impact travel to a larger audience?

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How do we bring impact travel to a larger audience? was posted by Eugenio De Gregorio in Discussion , Sustainability , Responsible Travel . Featured on Sep 19, 2023 (5 months ago). How do we bring impact travel to a larger audience? is rated 5/5 ★ by 3 members.
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