The over-tourism crisis has led to greater awareness of responsible tourism, defined as reducing negative social, economic and environmental effects and enhancing the well-being of host communities.
As residents in fragile cities such as Venice protest behemoth cruise ships docking in the Marco Polo Basin and rail against the intrusive seasonal tourist invasions, crowd-shy travellers are casting an eye at lesser known places and more uncharted territories – such as the Micronesian Islands in the North Pacific, Lake Abbe in Djibouti, and the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana. These places are less likely to be found on traditional bucket lists and inspire the ever elusive wifi disconnect, a coveted luxury in our digitally driven lives. The move towards slow travel means making deeper connections with nature and destinations.
Doing the ultimate safari in Africa is hot with a sense of urgency as the world’s great Eden faces poaching, trophy hunting and human encroachment. Lodges with appropriate sensitivity to wildlife (best achieved sans 4x4 convoys and at a decent distance from animals) have conservation high on the agenda and are giving back to local communities.
Jennifer Lalley, co-owner of Natural Selection Travel, which manages Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia and Planet Baobab in Botswana, says: “There’s certainly merit in drawing guests’ attention and donations to good causes, but tourism companies should be digging into their own pockets as well to make sure projects have sustainable funds available.”