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The Future of Conscious Travel


As we land into a new year, we look ahead at the future, exploring what conscious travel is and how we can embrace it for the health of our planet and to create meaningful experiences for travellers.

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Do we understand the impact we have when we travel? 

This is a question we’ve perhaps all been asking ourselves more than ever recently, and a question mother nature has herself answered for us in different ways throughout the past two years. From local to long-haul travel, there is no denying the carbon footprints we rack up as we do so.

When all travel came to a halt during the global pandemic, we witnessed all kinds of unimaginable scenarios, from the new growth of previously extinct plants or wild animals roaming empty city streets, to the decrease in air pollution resulting in the first sighting of the Himalayas in 30 years for people living in Northern India.

Treading Carefully

The notion of ‘treading carefully’ has never been so poignant. Besides the wake of a global pandemic, there are many other aspects behind the how, where and why we choose to or choose not to travel, from animal welfare and human exploitation, to climate change or the health of our oceans.

​​With this in mind, coupled with the recent outcomes of the COP26 summit and the fact the pandemic has put a substantial halt on the amount of international travel we’re doing, this presents a rare opportunity for the tourism industry to completely overhaul the ‘norm’ and shape the trajectory for the future generation of conscious travellers.

This has always been our vision at BELIEVE. To disrupt and shake things up. We are not afraid to challenge the ingrained ways of doing things that no longer serve the purpose of the greater good. We encourage creative thinking and prompt all to explore the impact our positive actions can have on others.

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Conscious tourism is possible.

Our Aroha project is a low carbon footprint tented retreat, founded on sustainable eco-friendly credentials. Based on principles of social and economic justice, which simultaneously offer spiritually fulfilling experiences to travellers, without affecting the environment and local cultures. We believe that tourism has a social responsibility and we also believe that it is never too late to make a positive change.
 
‘It’s important to be honest about this situation. But it’s also important to remember how much we still have to fight for. There’s no single moment when it’s ‘too late’ to act on climate change; no cut-off point where we can’t choose a better path.’ - Mal Chadwick, Greenpeace
 
Responsible tourism encourages alternatives and more mindful experiences and interactions between the tourism industry, local communities, the travellers and the environment, so that the travel experience can be reworked in a creative way in the personal life of all the people and communities involved.

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Consumer attitudes are changing.

We’re glad to see that sustainability is set to continually increase in traveller’s priorities. Pre pandemic, consumers were already showing interest in sustainability and according to reports from TUI Group, there was an 84% increase in the number of its clients choosing “greener and fairer” holiday packages between 2015 and 2020.

Another approach to responsible, conscious travel is by choosing a different mode of transport. Flying is the most damaging method of transport for the climate. Eliminating plane travel would drastically reduce our annual carbon footprint. A fellow disruptor in the tourism and travel sector, Cat Jones, founded Byway during lockdown in 2021. The first  ‘no-fly’ travel company, Cat came to the realisation that “the environmental need for simpler flight-free travel has become urgent, and as the pandemic hit I knew the time had come for slower travel to take centre stage. I founded Byway to make sustainable, multi-stop trips easy, and to help more people discover the joys of slow travel.”

The Future of Conscious Travel 

The future is bright for sustainable, responsible and conscious travel. We’re seeing more and more disrupters shaking up the status quo in their respective sectors, while consumers are demanding care, transparency and commitment to sustainable practices. The fact we’ve not been able to travel freely for two years means there is a pent-up wanderlust for the trip of a lifetime and meaningful, memorable experiences.

‘Travel has long been considered inherently good: It broadens horizons, fosters understanding, promotes cultural exchange and changes the traveller for the better. It is also an important economic driver in destinations around the world that provides jobs and, often, encourages conservation.’ – Hannah Sampson, The Washington Post

At Believe Hotel Group, we know that conscious travel is about environmental and social impact, which is why our founding pillars are rooted in these values. From finding the most sustainable solutions that we can, in order to support and preserve the island’s biodiversity as well as our local community here in Greece.

But it isn’t just about how we do things at BHG...

  • As someone who travels, how committed are you to treading carefully, do you consider the impact you have when you travel?
  • Do you consider mode of transport – rail vs fly; electric car rental?
    Do you consider hotel operations waste or water management – dealing with food waste, water recycling?
    Do you think about how island destinations deal with plastic waste generated by their guests – do you take your empty containers home when you leave?
    Are you aware of how products used impact the environment and your personal health – chemicals in your product?
    Do you consider your water or power usage – a new towel every day or leaving lights on unnecessarily?If considered, in even a small way, your contribution can lead to positive CHANGE.

 

Sources
https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/01/16/you-want-be-responsible-tourist-what-does-that-even-mean/

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200218-climate-change-how-to-cut-your-carbon-emissions-when-flying

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/nature-liberated-by-lockdown.html

https://www.thebridgechronicle.com/lifestyle/living/is-conscious-traveling-the-only-way-to-travel-post-covid-19

https://www.nytimes.com/220/08/27/travel/travel-future-coronavirus-sustainable.html

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