Today (27 September) marks World Tourism Day, a day which brings into focus the importance of the global travel industry, and of travelling responsibly within the communities, wildlife and environments we explore.
This year, we’re considering all this through a Covid-shaped lens, and never before have so many lives depended on bringing our industry back.
The big question is, how do we build back better? How do we ensure that when borders are fully open and confidence in the market returns, we are making travel matter, ensuring our return is considered and considerate to the places we visit, and the world we call home?
Not only has the absence of tourism been a blow for our airlines, tour operators and travel agencies, but catastrophic for the destinations we serve and their communities.
The local people are a critical part of an immersive tourism experience, and taking guests to visit local projects, enterprises, co-operatives and small or family-run businesses broadens our understanding of cultures, and supports economies.
For example, every year The Travel Corporation (TTC) takes Contiki, Insight Vacations and Trafalgar travellers and guests to visit the Iraq Al-Amir women’s co-operative in the Wadi Seer region of Jordan – an amazing project that is empowering women and transforming lives, as well as preserving valuable cultural heritage.
Or there is Marta Cucchia, who welcomes Trafalgar, Luxury Gold and Insight Vacations guests to her beautiful workshop – Laboratorio Guiditta Brozzetti – in Perugia, Italy. Marta is keeping her family’s ancient hand-weaving traditions alive and thanks to our support and that of our guests over the years, she has been able to turn her lab in to a thriving small business providing a stable source of income for the local weavers.
It goes without saying that they have missed us this year. And the benefit of these experiences is two-fold – these organisations touch the traveller as much as they do their communities. They inform us, and open-minded global citizens have never been as needed as they are in 2020, a year a lot of us are keen to put behind us.
We know that consumers are increasingly keen to make the right choices in all areas of their lives, including their holidays. That requires travelling with companies that have integrity with their sustainability promises.