Travel trends evolve with the times so it’s not surprising that the new trend of impact travel has come to the fore in the wake of the pandemic and the subsequent revival of the travel and tourism industry.
What is impact travel?
Travel is no longer something that people take lightly. Travel is not something undertaken with the simple intention of obtaining a few insta-worthy snaps or the aim of lazing around within the confines of a hotel all day (no matter how lavish the hotel in question may be!) Nowadays, knowing all too well the feeling of having one’s freedom of movement snatched away, people treat travel as a gift, and they do it with purpose. This is the basis of impact travel … and it’s twofold.
Ultimately, impact travel revolves around the fact that travellers want their trips to have a long‑lasting impact on their lives in the form of treasured memories and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. At the same time, they want their trip to have a positive impact on the community that they’re visiting.
Impact travel in practice
An excellent example of an activity that would interest an ‘impact-driven’ traveller on a visit to Africa would be embarking on a colourful township tour that included the chance to interact with locals, to sit down to an authentic meal in a shebeen and to shop for unique souvenirs at one of the local markets. The traveller has the joy of partaking in these Africa-specific experiences while taking pleasure in making a financial contribution to the local community.
How impact travel affects businesses operating in the industry
The impact travel trend is providing many types of businesses operating within the travel and tourism industry with various opportunities to grow and thrive. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, business owners need to devise ways that will change their offerings and enable their clients/guests not only to get the most out of their holidays but also to ‘give back’ during their stay. More importantly, business owners should be thinking of creative ways in which to combine the two.
How can travellers revel in a special and unique experience and simultaneously do a good deed that will benefit local residents in some way? Here are some tips:
If you’re an accommodation provider, take action and become more eco-conscious. Make small changes with the wellbeing of the environment in mind and ensure these efforts are marketed properly.
If you’re an experience provider, take action to incorporate applicable small businesses into the experiences you offer.
Collaboration is key. The more the involvement of local people and businesses, the greater will be the impact of the experience on offer and the more attractive it will be to ‘impact‑driven’ travellers.
Here’s to generating meaningful encounters for our travellers and our communities.