Lena Melcher, Head of Marketing at Viatu on how Viatu is creating a long-term net positive impact in their destinations by prioritising the interests of people, wildlife & the environment
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, crowded attractions and jam-packed destinations
were a common sight. Overtourism was burdening destinations, communities and
environments – being effectively unsustainable. Is this the opportunity to redesign
travel as we know it?
As the Coronavirus started waving across the globe, strict lockdowns and travel
restrictions saw worn-out destinations regain their balance as travelling was no longer
an option. Decreased tourists resulted in a reduction of crowds, pollution and adverse
effects on local communities. And the current pandemic has largely affected travellers’
behaviours too. Nowadays, they are eager to explore remote destinations at a slower
pace, seeking to immerse in local cultures. They are also likely to book last-minute trips
because of fast-changing travel restrictions. This behaviour is enhanced by the
pre-existing digital trend of booking with 52% of millennial travellers arranging trips
online and 25% doing so from their mobile phones.
One thing is for sure though - not travelling at all is not the answer. Just because
old-fashioned tourism was unsustainable does not mean that tourism as a whole can’t
change. When managed, directed and guided with sustainability at its core, tourism has
the capacity to create lasting effects on local communities and largely contribute to the
conservation and preservation of the environment and wildlife. For this reason, we
believe that this crisis is a chance to rethink travel.
A recent study found that 76% of travellers are more concerned about sustainability
after COVID proving that they believe the sector needs reform as well. However, the
same study shows that only 55% of travel businesses implement a sustainability
strategy – indicating an evident gap. Travellers’ principles should be matched by the
tourism industry, presenting a unique opportunity to redefine travel collaboratively.
Current trends reveal that travellers desire to support local businesses and initiatives
that are eco-friendly and look for sustainably managed travel options. Given consumer
trends and the pandemic, travel in the future must become more conscious and
sustainable - preserving destinations rather than exhausting them. To achieve this goal, the focus should be on promoting encounters and experiences with local people and the
support of local businesses as well as the protection and conservation of nature and
wildlife. Tourism stakeholders need to develop new strategies that incorporate
sustainable practices to support this movement.
This is the beginning of a new, more sustainable era of tourism. At Viatu, we aim to
create a long-term net positive impact in our destinations by prioritising the interests of
people, wildlife & the environment.
If not now, when?
Author: Lena Melcher, Head of Marketing at Viatu
1. Passport, December 2020, Digital Travel Innovation Across The Traveller Journey
2. Passport, December 2020, From Sustainability to Purpose: Roadmap to Recovery
for Travel and Tourism