What is slow luxury tourism? You might have heard about slow tourism being one of the hottest trends that might help keep our planet cool, by encouraging the exploration of tourist destinations in a way that respects ecosystems and social environments and does not consume resources to a harmful extent. Slow luxury tourism is about upholding the same values but ensuring a unique, comfortable experience for the traveller. If you think that sounds unachievable, keep reading.
Why slow tourism?
The travel industry has been discovering slow tourism for a while, not just as a profitable trend, but as a whole philosophy that aims to change the way we see travel. Mass tourism is clearly unsustainable: it follows that promoting a different approach to travelling and exploring is not only beneficial to the industry as a new marketable product, but it is also the only possible way to keep the industry itself afloat in a world that will have to regulate the environmental impact of all its activities, in order for our civilization to survive and thrive. Slow tourists want to have an in-depth knowledge of the places and cultures they come into contact with, they look for organic food and authentic experiences, all of which can be marketed provided one does not fall into the trap of trying to apply the same techniques that made mass tourism successful.
How does slow luxury tourism work?
Travellers that look for slow luxury tourism experiences want something that is unlikely to be featured in a standard travel agent’s catalog. They want to stay in facilities that have a low environmental impact, but ensure comfort and do not compromise on style. They are happy to change their habits to save resources, but they won’t settle for sub-par experiences. They want to take cultural journeys that truly enrich them and to be proactive in supporting local economies and communities. It would be naif to think all of this does not flow into travel packages that provide much higher quality for a higher price. The whole point of slow luxury tourism is exclusivity. A beautiful destination can’t possibly sustain unique and enriching experiences for thousands of people at the same time: nature needs to replenish its resources and communities need to be able to welcome visitors without having their harmony disrupted. This means special travel packages will be available to a limited number of potential tourists at any given time. Even those who are ready to pay more for a specific experience might have to wait. This, paired with the need to make this type of tourism financially sustainable, makes for truly exclusive experiences that customers will be eager to try.
Speak to the heart, through the senses
Creating truly memorable experiences that have an impact on the traveller is no easy feat. What makes a journey truly rewarding, inspiring, engaging, and potentially life-altering? The answer is subjective, of course, but it has to spring from the ability to uncover aspects of a certain destination that might not be immediately apparent. Anyone can behold a beautiful landscape, for instance, but exploring a natural reserve with an experienced guide, that can draw your attention to unique aspects of the local flora and fauna will make the same landscape infinitely more interesting and significant. The same goes for wine-tasting or visiting an archaeological site: anyone can use their senses to experience art or sample fine wines, but being guided through the history and hidden meaning of what our senses perceive can empower and engage us on a much deeper level.