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Culture

5 ways travel will change beyond 2020

2020 has enforced a dramatic pause on our ability to travel, with hotels shuttering their doors and flights being grounded amid the pandemic. But now, with the industry cautiously starting to reopen, what will our trips consist of on the other side and beyond? KATIE BERRINGTON asked experts JULIET KINSMAN, founder of eco-luxury travel brand Bouteco, and JEWELS RHODE, creator of travelJewels, an NYC-based website specializing in travel and wellness

Lifestyle

Perceptions will shift

Juliet Kinsman: “I think we all want to think more deeply about how our vacations can help heal. People are finally waking up to how it’s not just about mitigating negative impact (ie, carbon offsetting), it’s about actively having a positive impact on the places we go by choosing good businesses. Travel can be an incredible way to balance socio-economic change for the better, locally and globally.”

Jewels Rhode: “The past few months have absolutely shifted the way I perceive travel. Pre-Covid, I felt I could travel throughout the world without restrictions and hesitations. But now, I’m more inclined to think more about how to avoid big crowds while I’m traveling. For me, that may look like traveling to destinations during their off-peak season or visiting lesser-frequented destinations.”

Bucket-list trips will take on greater meaning (and heavier scrutiny)

JK: “I would love to book vacations that build in better volunteer-work opportunities in a meaningful way. The problem is the opportunist travel planners out there charging for seemingly do-gooding trips but, when you really think about it, they’re designed for the holidaymakers to do some virtue-signalling shots on social media. Your hands-on contribution needs to be change-making for the communities you’re visiting — we need to support travel companies that are also working hard to give back. For example, Blue Ventures hosts expeditions that are part of a carefully considered transformative approach for catalyzing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. It works in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and that are committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal communities. They’ve been so hard hit by recent times, it’s heartbreaking. I’m excited about the Conscious Travel Foundation, which is a new collective bringing together travel experts to support those hardest hit by a drop in tourism.”

JR: “I’ve been dreaming a lot about cultural and adventure travel. Some of my exciting plans that were disrupted by the pandemic include going gorilla trekking in Rwanda and visiting Colombia to explore San Basilio de Palenque (the first town in the Americas to free itself from slavery) and go hiking in the Cocora Valley. As a global society, I believe that, in 2020, we have experienced a massive awakening on several fronts. From a wellness perspective, this time has been a period of great internal reflection for many and has probably revealed what’s most important to people.”

Sustainability will be taken to expansive new levels

JK: “Writing my book, The Green Edit, got me thinking how rewarding it is to be a more eco-friendly traveler. I’ve just been given the title of sustainability editor at Condé Nast Traveller UK, and so I’m really happy everyone is thinking more about how to make their travels a force for good. And travel can be an incredible way to balance socio-economic change for the better, locally and globally. Just as we are doing with food and fashion, we need to look at our supply chains with travel now, too. Choosing B-Corp-certified brands is a great way of doing this. Tour operators that empower local communities by ensuring that as many links in their trips’ supply chains have a conscience are the ones to favor. These includes the likes of G Adventures, Steppes Travel, Intrepid Travel, Responsible Travel and Wild Frontiers.”

We’ll stay closer to home

JK: “Staycations, staycations, staycations… We’ve all been forced to slow down and take a longer look at what’s in front of us — and so I’m loving the chance to spend more time in the UK. And the huge benefit, of course, is it’s more eco-friendly not to fly. Spending time in nature is good for mental health and stress relief, physical wellness and development in childhood – so much so that the Scottish NHS has been prescribing time in nature long before coronavirus landed. After weeks and weeks in my basement flat, my daughter and I are longing for some fresh air and wilderness, which is why I’ve planned a road trip to Scotland in August, stopping off at lots of cute little places on the way. I’ve just booked a cottage in Alladale in the Scottish Highlands – which appealed to me in particular because it is part of the European Nature Trust and supports wildlife and conservation projects across Europe.”

Travel will become more socially conscious

JK: “Sustainability isn’t just about the environment, it’s about striving for better equality and inclusivity for all. It’s important when we travel not to think of ourselves as visiting a different world and not to stay in bubbles, but to really engage with different communities so we see life through the eyes of others.”

JR: “The travel industry needs to demonstrate its commitment to highlighting diverse perspectives. The world is watching. And it is no longer good enough to make a social media post: we want to see numbers and strategic plans. I recently joined the Black Travel Alliance, which is a community of Black content creators and allies fighting for equal opportunities in the travel space and holding the industry accountable.”

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