Nature tourism, the most promising travel trend after the pandemic


Nature tourism, the most promising travel trend after the pandemic

14 Oct

As the months go by, the question is whether, from now on, tourism will be like it used to be. Which destinations are going to be preferred? How will we plan our trips? Why - and how - will we travel?

On the one hand, according to the Government of Catalonia, there will be a change in the way we travel, although the “new” visitor/tourists’ behavioral differences are still not known. According to this study, we will travel with an objective, there will be ultra-segmentation, crowds will be avoided, businesses we will have to connect with demand and will have to work towards improving and/or keeping their loyalty rate. Innovation and sustainability will undoubtedly be the keys to the tourism of the future.

Booking, the online travel agency, predict a greater number of long stays -more than 7 days- for the summer of 2021, compared to the summer of 2019, among others reasons due to the accumulated holidays of some travelers.

Making travel a part of the journey, and not a simple means-to-an-end, is an approach promoted by tourism experts such as Dr. José Antonio Donaire (Vice-Rector and Professor of the UdG and Researcher at INSETUR). The professor points out that the road between two points is also part of the place we want to visit, and recommends making these trips on foot or by bicycle, or by public transport for longer distances. An option that can become an ally when regulating tourism flows and carrying capacity.

In La Garrotxa, the peaks in the influx of visitors were unprecedented, and posed a challenge both for the public sector -which had to manage more traffic flows- and for the private sector -which, with limited capacity by law, could not respond to the demand nor its expectations.

Aware of the challenges posed by Post-Covid tourism, especially those related to mobility, in La Garrotxa this year 2021, a Tourist Mobility Board has been created, which will advise the County Mobility Board to create and develop a tourism mobility strategy. The resulting strategy is the integration of regional mobility policies with the sustainable tourism policies defined in the CETS strategy in La Garrotxa 2021-2025, which also includes the Sustainable Development Objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

In fact, one of the challenges of the Tourist Mobility Table, is to put in order and manage the flow of visitors, integrating mobility into the tourist experience itself, in order to reduce the impacts generated by tourist mobility.

For a destination like La Garrotxa, these challenges related to sustainability are nothing new, as the tourism sector in this region has been promoting a sustainable model of tourism development for 25 years which has always been deeply-rooted in the territory. This approach combines respect for the environment with the needs and expectations of the local entities, companies and municipalities that receive these services.

The agreement of the tourism strategy between the public and the private sector has produced - and is still producing - good results. It allows for the achievement of reach consensus - more necessary than ever in matters such as mobility - and adds a feeling of unity at the destination, which gives its agents the energy needed to undertake pioneering initiatives.

An example has been to accredit travel agencies with the CETS (European Charter for Sustainable Tourism) and to promote the creation and marketing of sustainable tourism products such as the Garrotxa Experiences, which won the Catalonia Tourism Award in 2020 in the category of Innovation in promotional and marketing actions.

In short, if everything indicates that nature-based tourism destinations, such as La Garrotxa, will continue to increase in popularity, in coherence with the territory's tourism development strategy, it will be mandatory to continue working towards an appropriate model of mobility that will allow a sustainable management of the Post-Covid tourism flows.