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 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.
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?
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.
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.
There are generally two different ways you could go about booking flights and hotels – booking direct or using aggregator sites.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
My final tip for how to improve tourism is simply to keep traveling when we’re able to do so safely again.
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.
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!