Travel Planning

How to Improve Tourism & Help Support the Struggling Travel Industry

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Although the entire world is affected by the current pandemic, the travel industry has been one of the most monumentally impacted.

As a result, the question of how to improve tourism in the future is at the forefront of many travelers’ minds right now.

Unfortunately, the future of travel is still largely uncertain.

Perhaps people will be reluctant and fearful to leave their homes once travel picks up again.

Conceivably, the economic impact of this crisis will lead to money hoarding and little spending on luxuries such as travel.

Or, perhaps the pendulum will swing the other way and there will be a resurgence of pent-up travel demand after this incubation period.

Only time will tell.

However, similar to John Krasinski and his brilliant effort to share “Some Good News,” I prefer to focus on the positive.

After all, the travel industry has historically proven its resilience, as evidenced by other crises such as SARs and the Zika virus.

So, in an effort to share some good news myself, there are a number of ways you can help.

While some items will have to wait for when non-essential travel is permitted, you can implement others right now.

Here are some helpful strategies for supporting this incredible industry so that it can come back stronger than ever.

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

Standing on the Venetian Harbor in Chania, Crete

How to Improve Tourism & Strengthen the Travel Industry

Postpone Your Trips Instead of Canceling

In a time when the travel industry is hard hit with refunds, small companies are more likely to go out of business.

If you previously booked a trip before the current climate, don’t be in a hurry to cancel unless you must.

Instead, one of the best ways you can support the travel industry right now is by postponing your trips.

A postponement is akin to a “small business loan” for travel companies. Opting for a travel voucher or a hotel credit for a future trip will help keep travel companies afloat. This is particularly true for small, independent operations.

In addition to supporting a hurting industry, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a planned trip when non-essential travel resumes.

To read more about postponements versus cancellations and how to decide what’s most appropriate, here’s a helpful article.

For information pertaining specifically to postponements versus cancellations for flights, here’s a useful article from Condé Nast Traveler.

Support Local Hotels & Travel Businesses

Showing love and support for the travel industry

Undeniably, the travel industry as a whole is suffering, so any support you provide is a positive step.

That said, the focus should ideally be on supporting small, independently-operated tourism businesses, as these are amongst the hardest hit.

In particular, consider supporting your own country and the local economy through domestic travel.

For instance, if you’re wondering how to improve tourism without venturing too far, why not treat yourself to a staycation?

Enjoying a cup of coffee on a relaxing staycation

With all of the time spent pent-up indoors, cabin fever is unsurprisingly at an all-time high.

Staying at a small, local hotel when the time is right is truly a win-win for all. You can enjoy time outside of your home without traveling too far and the property will greatly appreciate your business.

Modern boutique hotel in Crete
Bed in a cute boutique hotel
how to improve tourism

Undoubtedly, your future dollars can mean the difference between a property staying afloat and shutting down.

Outside of the hotel sphere, think about other ways you can support the tourism industry locally as well.

Perhaps you can take a tour of your city or try a new international cuisine at a local restaurant.

Alternatively, if you do travel internationally, try to prioritize staying at small, local hotels rather than larger hotel chains. These smaller properties have more limited budgets and are therefore feeling the economic impact more than the larger corporations.

In the meantime, here are some ways to enjoy a taste of travel on a staycation at home.

Book Direct

There are generally two different ways you could go about booking flights and hotels –  booking direct or using aggregator sites.

Booking a flight directly online

First, let’s discuss the difference between the two.

Booking direct is when you call a hotel to book a room or book it directly through their website.

Conversely, booking through an aggregator site is when you use a third-party website instead to book a stay, flight, etc.

Travelers are often enticed by online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia, for example, because of their cheaper rates.

While it’s tempting to snag the lowest rate and go on your merry way, this is not ideal for hotels, for example.

In fact, hotels and OTAs have had a long and complicated relationship over the years.

While these third-party sites undoubtedly help properties reach a wider audience, they typically charge high commissions.

As a result, every time you book through an aggregator site, the hotel loses out on a percentage of money.

To help combat this, many hotels now offer generous discounts for booking direct. For more information about why it’s best to book direct in the current climate, here’s a helpful article from Frommer’s.

In addition to supporting hotels, booking direct can also provide a number of personal benefits as well. It can help put you in the driver’s seat, as opposed to subject to the whims of ever-changing policies.

For instance, you can accumulate loyalty points and credit card bonuses and enjoy more leverage in terms of delays or cancellations.

Consider Participating in a Fun Travel Initiative

FUN FACT: Although I’m not one to stay in hostels, I did want to share an amazing initiative called “Adopt a Hostel.” This campaign encourages travelers to donate or purchase a gift card directly from their hostel of choice for a future visit.

This brilliant initiative is designed to help low-budget properties cover their costs and stay afloat through this challenging time. Visit their website here for more information on how to purchase a gift card or make a donation.

Share Positive Online Reviews

Writing online reviews is a strange paradox.

While keyboard warriors don’t waste a moment firing out their scathing remarks, many are less apt to share positive reviews.

However, writing a glowing review for an experience you enjoyed is essential for the travel industry now more than ever.

Whether you’re recalling a five-star hotel experience or singing the praises of a fantastic guide, your words make an impact.

Plus, in a time when tourism businesses are fearful of an uncertain future, your kind words can keep them going.

Writing a positive online travel review

In addition, many travelers rely on positive reviews to shape their itineraries and drive their decision-making process while trip planning. Taking a moment to share positive feedback can help fellow travelers locate the best hidden gems at the appropriate time.

Generously disperse your accolades throughout reputable sources across the web, from Yelp, to TripAdvisor, to Google, to Facebook.

Support Online Travel Businesses

If you’re itching for that next adventure while thinking about how to improve tourism from home, I’ve got you covered.

Fortunately, you can enjoy virtual experiences from the comfort of your couch or kitchen table, all while supporting the industry!

From museum tours, to cooking classes, to outdoor adventures, there’s plenty to keep you occupied until you can fly again.

Ingredients for a virtual cooking class

To enjoy a taste of travel right from home, here’s a list of some fun paid tours and classes:

  • The Tour Guy – All proceeds (15 EUR) from virtual tours go toward keeping guides employed during lockdown.
  • “Tours from Home” by Take Walks – Join expert guides and international chefs and receive a $25 walks voucher for each online tour you participate in!
  • Traveling Spoon – Book a private meal or cooking class with experts from around the world and experience the local culture through cuisine.
  • Nona Live – Enjoy a taste of Italy with Nona, the 84-year-old chef extraordinaire and face of homemade pasta and Airbnb experiences in Italy.
  • The China Guide (by donation) Enjoy the spectacular majesty of the Great Wall of China from your very own laptop. After making a small donation, enjoy access to a range of additional virtual tours throughout China.

Read & Share the Work of Your Favorite Travel Bloggers

In addition to supporting hotels, airlines, and tourism companies, don’t forget to support your fellow travel bloggers as well!

With the travel industry taking a tremendous hit, blog traffic has unfortunately plummeted right along with it. This has been the case for travel bloggers across the board, even the big players.

One of the best ways you can lend your support is simply by reading and sharing more travel blogs!

Planning out a trip

A Day in the Life of a Blogger

Travel bloggers spend countless hours perfecting their posts, and writing is but one small part of the process.

Here’s a typical to-do list for producing and releasing just one blog post:

  • Brainstorm a blog topic
  • Conduct keyword research
  • Outline blog post
  • Shoot blog photos
  • Edit blog photos
  • Write blog post
  • Edit/proofread blog post
  • Implement blog post in WordPress
  • Compress & keyword-optimize blog images and upload to WordPress
  • Design Pinterest pins and upload to WordPress
  • Launch & promote post to social media platforms and email list
  • Schedule pins/share to Tailwind tribes
  • Promote pins in threads and engage with other bloggers

As you can see, a day-in-the-life of a blogger can be pretty hectic. The best way you can give back is by reading and distributing the posts we work so hard to produce.

The more time you spend on the page, the better, particularly if you click through to other posts.

Furthermore, if you like a post and find it valuable, share it!

Every share, repin, and Instagram swipe up makes a big difference in a blogger’s day (trust me, I know)!

The more shares we receive, the more opportunities we have for blog traffic. This traffic is what ultimately pays our bills so that we can keep producing more helpful content you love!

Speaking of, if you’re struggling as a travel blogger, check out my tips for building blog momentum when you’re not traveling.

In it, I provide 15 actionable tips for staying motivated and producing click-worthy content all while you’re stuck at home.

Keep Traveling When It’s Safe

My final tip for how to improve tourism is simply to keep traveling when we’re able to do so safely again.

Exploring Old City in Lagos, Portugal
Standing along the Venetian Harbor in Chania, Crete
Standing in front of a beautiful pink cafe in Lagos, Portugal

Chances are, when the dust settles, many will be nervous to leave home, let alone hop on a plane in close proximity with others.

In addition, the economic impact of this crisis will likely make people reluctant to spend, particularly on luxuries like travel.

For these reasons, if you have the funds and desire to do so in the future, you should continue traveling and help revitalize the industry.

FUN FACT: If Sicily is on your bucket list, you’ll definitely want to check out this article. When travel opens back up, this Italian island is offering to cover half of your flight and a third of your hotel costs if you visit later this year!

Be a Responsible Traveler

That said, don’t be hasty or irresponsible when it comes to travel. The last thing you want is to put yourself or others at risk at this fragile time.

Instead, stay informed and follow the guidelines of reputable organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the meantime, the best you can do to protect the future of travel is to stay home where it’s safe.

In addition, postpone your trips, craft stellar reviews to promote struggling businesses, and prepare to come back stronger than ever.

Remember: This is only temporary. I remind myself of this each day and I encourage you to do the same.

While the current pandemic is largely out of our control, we travelers are a resilient people. We’ve combated cultural divides, knocked down communication barriers, fearlessly navigated new lands, bravely battled turbulence, and survived crippling jet lag.

Together we will rise again to explore this beautiful world hand-in-hand!

Do you have any of your own suggestions for how to improve tourism through this tough time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Did you find this post useful? Pin it to your boards!

Standing on the Venetian Harbor in Chania, Crete
Jumping for joy in front of Eiffel Tower
Travel accessories

57 thoughts on “How to Improve Tourism & Help Support the Struggling Travel Industry

  1. Ah this is amazing Elena! I’m so happy you wrote this. These are all great ways to save the travel industry and IT WILL BE SAVED! 🙂 Good point on booking directly and staying at smaller properties, they are the ones who are affected the most from this situation.

    1. Thank you, Taylor! Your kind words mean the world to me. I agree that the travel industry will absolutely be SAVED. Can’t wait to explore again!

  2. I completely agree with all of these wonderful suggestions! Especially the postpone not cancel option. When things are safe, we will have trips to still look forward to that way 🙂

  3. This is such an awesome post. As both a blogger and a travel agent, I can relate to so many of these points. Hit the nail on the head, and so nice to read 🙂

  4. Completely agree on each point .Very vital points that goes missing in the eyes of readers are the hardword and toil which goes behind each blogs . Kudos you have pen it down so well.

  5. What a great idea for a blog post. I love all your suggestions and will definitely share it to friends, family members and my community.

  6. This is amazing Elena. I am happy to read all those points and Agree with you that local tourism should boost rather than International. One major point I liked is you highlighted the life of Blogger! Its such a pain to write only one post! Hope people read more along with travel!

  7. What an uplifting read! I agree that when it’s safe to travel again, we should all try a little harder to book rooms in smaller hotels and do locally-run tours, etc. to make sure more money is going back into the local economy. Lots of good things to think about here.

  8. This is so important! I’m all about postponing trips over canceling! As an airline Employee, it makes all the difference and it protects the jobs of thousands! Great job on this post!

  9. This is such a great post Elena and I agree with everything! I hope people won’t shy away from traveling again once it’s safe. Love how you highlight the options of doing “online travel” for now!

  10. Elena, this is such an amazing post. Thank you for writing this as it is so important right now to consider how we can all help. I am certainly going to travel only locally once things go back to normal and it is safe to travel again. I also love the comment about postponing instead of cancelling. This is something that I also did with all of my travel plans for the first half of the year. Thank you for mentioning it! Great post 🙂

  11. Great post! I’ve been kind of at a loss as to what we can in this time of non-travel. There are certainly lots of small travel shops I could be supporting, since I’m not spending money on going anywhere. I’ll be checking out my local small businesses for sure!

    1. Thank you so much; I’m really glad you found it so useful! Hoping you will have many more adventures in the near future!

  12. Love this! I have stayed at a few smaller hotels in the past that I absolutely loved and though there are sometimes a few small drawbacks (having to wake up owners late at night when I arrive for example) they always improve the “fun” factor of a trip! Properties with personality are lovely and interesting and often not more expensive or less accessible than a regular chain hotel. I’ve noticed some of the ones you have stayed in and written about looked amazing! So this goes along with the “book directly” tip as well.

    1. Thank you, Mara! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed staying at some smaller properties in the past. I’m personally a HUGE proponent of boutique hotels because I love how intimate they are and I find that the service is typically stellar, compared to some larger hotels. I do hope you’ll get to enjoy another positive hotel experience some time in the not-too-distant future 🙂

  13. What a thoughtful and well presented topic!!It is hard for those of us that don’t get to travel but much more difficult for the injury at large.

  14. Great suggestions! I hope we can take this moment to reshape the travel industry and make it more inclusive and sustainable.

  15. Great Post! I love it….one other thing I am doing to support the local industry, is Go Found Me to help to raise money to some of the remote places I have visited that depend 100% on the tourism for their only income, such as some friends I made from the hill tribes in Sapa and some tribes in Africa. It is a difficult time for all of us, but for some people is even harder.

  16. This is such a good list. Indeed I think as traveler lovers we will need to do our part to support the industry and help it become what it once was. Thank you for putting it together.

  17. I LOVE this post! I’ve been so anxious lately about how travel will look in the future when we get out of the lockdowns, so it’s great knowing how I can help support the travel industry when I feel so helpless and “stuck” at home.

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you do! Sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling anxious…I hope things will start to turn around soon!

  18. Really interesting read. Thank you for putting into words what many people think and many more I believe needed to hear/read. Being responsible and supportive in times like the ones we’re living right now is crucial.

  19. Supporting local industries is crucial now, more than ever. A number of Quebec SMEs have been able to reorient their business so they can remain open. We were supposed to go on a cruise at the end of May, and seriously, with the incentive they give, it’s really worth it to just postpone instead of cancelling.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Oh, I’m so glad to hear that the incentive is that good! That’s actually very encouraging.

  20. These tips are so important, thank you for sharing! It’s such an uncertain time for so many businesses in the industry but hopefully, it will bounce back when this is all over.

  21. I’m enjoying your blog! Your point about postponing instead of canceling is so true. We’ve had to postpone a trip to Israel. We haven’t rescheduled it yet-we’re waiting to see when would be best.
    I also love your idea to share positive online reviews. I can be a bit lazy when it comes reviews (positive or negative!) And I have so much more time to do that now. lol

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I’m crossing my fingers for you in hopes you’ll be able to go through with your trip to Israel…I definitely will be writing more reviews myself!

  22. So I might or might not have just spent 30 minutes walking down the Great Wall of China, followed by booking a class on how to make pasta. This really made my morning Elena, a very wonderful read. Thank you!

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