These last few months have been hard for the tourism industry. Both for travellers and tourism professionals. Who would have expected that a global pandemic could change our lives so radically?
Little by little, and phase by phase, we are getting closer to this so-called “new normal” and summertime; a holiday period for many people facing an exceptional situation: traveling restrictions to international destinations.
A small “drama” for some, but also a good opportunity for many. It’s time for local tourism. During these last months, we have learned how to be responsible; and now, it’s time to do the same with tourism.
These last weeks, we have heard a lot about the importance of practising a more sustainable tourism. We have been able to see how reducing our impact on the environment as human beings has given way to unprecedented and unexpected images in recent years, where the main beneficiary has been our planet: pollution reduction, decrease of CO2 emissions, appearance of wildlife in cities, among others.
On the other hand, what has been really affected is our local economy: those business owners who have been forced to close their businesses indefinitely to face up to this situation. Tourism accounts for 12% of GDP in Catalonia and not only benefits the people who work in, it also benefits many other sectors. This year, it will be complicated for many, or at least different.
If so, how can we help the local economy and the planet at the same time? We are clear about it: this year it is time to practice sustainable and local tourism.
Did you know that… Local tourism is also sustainable tourism?
Sustainability means balance. Balance between economic growth, respect for the environment and social welfare.
By practising local tourism, you help your own territory and local community. Furthermore, you help to develop and reactivate the local economy by contributing financially to encourage responsible consumption with local businesses and the benefits you generate have a direct impact on the territory.
We shorten distances and can move with more eco-friendly transportation. By practising local tourism, you reduce the environmental impact of catching a plane, for example.
It is also a good opportunity to raise awareness of the need to conserve our natural and cultural heritage. We have already seen what has happened these days with nature so, it is a good chance to think over.
By practising local tourism, you can visit parks and places of great natural value, learn about the fauna and flora, learn to preserve the environment, and recognize the impacts we can generate in our ecosystem. All this with the help of a local guide specialised in nature, for example.
Or maybe, visit small towns or cities that you haven’t visited in years or have never visited before, while thinking “I’ll do it later”. It’s a good opportunity to discover them; also, it is a good opportunity to contribute to the development of rural areas and give value to local and seasonal cuisine, traditions and popular festivals so characteristic of our land… A good opportunity to re-discover the meaning of “like home, nowhere”.
“You will help our territory when it needs it the most. With small gestures, you can help local culture, the environment and slow down the climate change”.
Practising local tourism is also about getting informed and discover new things. At COAMB, we share local initiatives, proposals and organizations willing to make this “new normal” not “normal” again, but “sustainable”.
Welcome to the phase “sustainability”.