Gone are the days when a holiday vacation was limited to a trip to grandma’s house or a quick road trip to a nearby town. Travelers in 2017 are worldly. They want to travel farther, experience more, and ultimately be changed by their wanderlust. According to leading luxury travel experts from Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, Transformational Travel will dominate 2017 holiday travel well into the New Year.
Transformational travel is the deeper, more profound version of experiential travel, where travelers return home with a changed world view following self-reflection and interaction with a new culture and nature. The theory is that a journey that requires a separation from the travelers “comfort zone” causes them to experience a new level of awareness, skill, and responsibility. A new level of introspection brought about by answering the call of adventure.
The key to creating a transformational travel experience is offering deep cultural experiences, active & remote excursions, and thought-provoking interactions. Encourage your guests to explore the destination in novel ways or to provoke deeper thought about the places they’re experiencing. For example, instead of just having a delicious authentic Bahamian meal at a restaurant in your hotel, offer your guests to go into town, go to a local farm, pick the ingredients themselves, meet the farmers, hear the history of why that crop is so vital to the economy and ecology of the country, and then show them how to cook it in a true Bahamian way.
“Travel, at its purest, shifts perspectives, unleashes imagination, inspires understanding and cultivates empathy, which in turn promises peace. These traits are what the world needs today and by bringing travel to life we will shift, and empathy, understanding and enlightenment will sweep across the planet, one traveler at a time” said Jake Haupert, founder of Transformational Travel Council in a recent Forbes Magazine interview.
Preserving the Environment
Then it comes to transformational travel, the role of sustainability goes beyond just having a small carbon footprint. Travelers want to support the protection of cultural and natural heritage, along with social and economic benefits for local people. More than just a vacation, these immersive experiences allow guests to leave things better than how they found it. To make this aspect of travel even more relevant, the United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Making a Difference
Voluntourism, where travelers want to make a difference with hands-on experience helping out in the community, is also expected to increase in the wake of recent disasters. The most effective Voluntourism programs clearly identify the assistance needed by the destination and the minimum criteria the guests must meet in order to help out (be able to lift a certain amount of weight for example, have a particular skill, etc.) It is also important to ensure your property is working with an accredited and locally reputable organization.
CHTA is looking forward to offering attendees at this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace exciting new opportunities to do some Voluntourism of their own while in Puerto Rico. More information regarding these opportunities are coming soon.