New Year, New Trend. Say Hello To ‘Conscious’ Travel.
By Bianca Lambert
Since my volunteer trip with JetBlue, I have been thinking a lot about the mark I leave on places from a human perspective. Yes, I want to relax and enjoy myself, but shouldn’t there be more to my travel experience? It seems that the travel industry is having a similar conversation, and has now set its sights on making “conscious” travel. But are they leading with right intentions — or is this a new buzzword to get new travelers in their resort doors? Executives in the travel industry hope not. CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Lindsey Ueberroth, says “hotels can’t just use conscious travel as a marketing ploy; we have a role to play in that space.”
I agree. Like the multibillion-dollar voluntourism trend, if conscious travel is not done correctly, it can do more harm than good.
Before talk of conscious travel, the industry was focused on “transformative travel,” which was defined by the founders of the Transformational Travel Council, as “any travel experience that empowers people to make meaningful or lasting changes in their lives.” This new form of travel is considered a form of luxury travel which doesn’t leave it open to all.
But executives like Ted Teng of Leading Hotels of the World have it right, saying in an interview with Skift that, “Yes. It’s about what people don’t have enough of. Imagine if the luxury business stood for caring for the less fortunate, using our platform and maybe once a year, closing down for a week and welcoming others who may not have the opportunities to access. Wouldn’t that be great? We share our abundance, rather than create exclusivity. It’s like building a wall versus building a bridge.”