Philanthropic tourism is not a new concept, but with so much negative talk about over–tourism and the exploitation of local cultures even before the pandemic struck, more luxury travellers will be thinking about how to spend their dollars compassionately, and to use their privilege to become dynamically involved in global projects in a hands-on way. But how can HNWI travel be a significant sustaining force for eco and social endeavors?
If you missed the session or would like a recap of the session check out our 5 takeaways below!
1. Transformational Mindset and Regenerative Tourism
One of the biggest takeaways from this session proved to be the concept of the transformational mindset of the consumer and their journey to regenerative thinking, a concept which is best summarised by Jake, in which he quoted “the cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure you seek”. The idea behind this journey is for the travel advisors and those who work in the industry to ask the ‘why’ and ‘how’. Beyond this, it’s seeing travel as not just about the distance, but truly dissecting what it is about travel that makes it so powerful.
Whereas before travel was centered around entertainment and came with a slight sense of entitlement, Jake highlights the shift in thinking this year as an awakening to experiencing and creating more ethical, empathetic and ecological journeys. It truly becomes about that “depth over distance” as he said. “As a combination of transformative mindset and regenerative tourism, consumers can intentionally travel to stretch, learn and grow into new ways of engaging with the world. It’s about us meeting them where they are at, and combining the elements of active and passive travel, that’s where the true travel treasures lie” said Jake.
“It’s coming to a point where we need to look at travel through the lens of connection, allowing that consumer to see the opportunity for them to explore their own self and identity, and connect with something bigger.”
2. Empowering the consumer
According to a recent study, 92% of consumers see sustainable business practices as something that should be standing. However, Carolyn countered with the statistic that only 16% of consumers feel they have the equipment to also practice sustainable travel.
“Consumers are looking to businesses to do this for them. We as an industry have the ability to join the dots for them. “Consumers are hungry to have different conversations. ” says Carolyn.
There was also conversation around luxury travellers pioneering this transformation in the industry to more sustainable and thoughtful tourism. “These travellers provide leadership, and have the ability to signal to the world and other people, and can enrich other travellers, using this proposition to drive this change forward.” says Carolyn.
3. Telling a story
Speaking on the Great Barrier Reef, Anna highlighted the element of how storytelling is critical in this industry. “From our own studies and research, visitors who have experienced the reef not only fall in love with it but also better understand the issues and complexities of our destination. They understand that it is bigger than just travel” she said.
“From this understanding, they grow into becoming an advocate for the reef, asking the questions what can I do? How can I help? How can I protect this place?. Their experience turns into a life-changing opportunity, in which the travellers are introduced to the destination and discover the reef unlike before, and it truly becomes an evolving story about the reef, and how they can help” she continued.
4. Fostering a deeper connection
“We as an industry need more of our success stories. All of these transformational things are happening beneath the surface, and now is the perfect climate for advisors to surface these stories, and showcase the more philanthropic relationships and experiences built. Communities recognise this as having value to them” says Carolyn.
Along with asking the why and how of travel, Jake shines a light on bringing more to the consumer to foster a greater connection to their journey. “We can create a space for this transformational shift we are seeing, bringing consumers the opportunity to reflect, and look into the psychological and spiritual aspect and approach them from a more human perspective”.
“People tend to get caught up in ticking off that travel list, but we see it all the time, when they have that moment, and realising they are actually doing it, and experiencing something. ” says Anna.
5. 2021, how do we travel?
Moving forward from a post-covid world, it’s no doubt the luxury travel landscape will look slightly different. Jake sees the future of luxury travel based on shifting the value proposition for consumers. “it’s no longer just about travelling better, but also living better. If we shift that value proposition, so that their experience impacts them in their own home life, the positive effects from their time spent travelling ripple out from there. And that’s how the industry can guide the consumer, and not the other way around” he said.
“Regenerative tourism can be accelerated by us, by the industry. It’s been a concept that has been around before the pandemic, and I think there is the potential for it to grow much faster” said Carolyn.
Quentin Long, Co-founder, Australian Traveller Media
Anna Marsden, Managing Director, Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Jake Haupert, Co-Founder, Transformational Travel Council
Carolyn Childs, CEO & Futurist, MyTravelResearch.com