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What is Conscious Travel?

“Conscious travel is where empathy meets exploration. It encourages people to look at their travel in a more holistic way. It requires us to have a clear reason for travel, to examine and understand its impact and to actively choose to explore the world in a meaningful, intentional way.”

For many of us, the pandemic has been a wake-up call. It has forced us to stop and take a really good look in the mirror. We’ve been challenged to analyse our lifestyles, our habits, our relationships, and our actions. Collectively, we’ve realized that we need to change. Our world is sick. All the signs are there: Covid-19, climate change, social injustice, wildlife on the brink of extinction. The list goes on.

We need to breathe more love into how we live. We need to be more conscious. And this extends to our travel behaviours. Conscious Travel is not just a buzz term, it's the future of the industry. So before you pack your suitcase (we hear you, we’re itching to go on vacation too), let’s take a moment to unpack what it means to travel consciously.

Why Should We Care About Responsible Travel?

The World Tourism Organization labelled 2020 as “the worst year on record” for global tourism with “international arrivals dropping by 74%.” This decrease in visitors has been devastating for many countries, particularly those that rely on tourism.

The good news? Due to the current worldwide vaccine rollout, travel is expected to bounce back over the next two years. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that “global passenger numbers are expected to recover to 52% of pre-Covid-19 levels” this year, “88% of pre-Covid-19 levels” in 2022, and “surpass pre-Covid 19 levels (105%)” in 2023.

How Can We Advocate for Conscious Tourism in 2021?

Luckily, it's not that difficult to advocate for conscious tourism. Here’s a summary of what we can do:

  1. Support your hometown’s small businesses, especially those that might be struggling as a result of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. If we’re willing to spend our money on vacation, we should also be willing to spend money when we’re at home.

  2. Research, research, research, and record your findings in your mindful travel journal. We want to make sure that the companies we book with have sustainable practices, employ local people, do not exploit wildlife, and participate in the green travel movement.

  3. Avoid popular times of the year if possible, and stay away from the obvious holiday hotspots. By visiting during off-peak times, we are helping that particular area create a more sustainable and consistent economy. This is especially important for small, remote communities where tourism is the main source of income.

  4. Reduce your carbon footprint wherever you can. Look for alternative modes of transport like public transit, car-shares, bike rentals. If you don’t need to fly, then don’t. If you do need to fly, minimise your impact by bringing hand luggage only and purchasing an economy class ticket. Who needs that fancy first-class seat anyway?


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