Conscious Travel is emerging in response to a small but highly influential, expanding market of people we’re calling Conscious Travellers, who are shaping a post recessionary consumerism – one that is mindful, collaborative, participative and co-creative. These travellers are making informed choices; they are redefining luxury and value; they seek meaning and purpose from their experiences; they want to put something back; and they expect suppliers to act responsibly.
In order to attract this market, destinations need to grow a community of Conscious Hosts – suppliers whose mindset and values are aligned with those of the Conscious Traveller; and whose business practices result in higher profits to investors and greater net benefit to the host community. The concept of a conscious host is based in part on the pioneering work of the Conscious Capital Institute – a group of highly successful public and private companies engaged in refining the capitalist model to minimize flaws and negative impacts while improving profits and financial sustainability.
Conscious Travel has thee elements:
1. A shared vision,
2. An e-learning program designed to improve the net benefits from tourism to all stakeholders, and
3. A collaborative community
1. Vision: The movement is based on a belief that the industrial model that fueled tourism’s growth has now run out of steam and carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. We have to work together now to find a more attractive alternative, less harmful way of enabling humanity to explore its home, Planet Earth. It’s not enough to say “No” or “Stop”, we have to create a robust compelling vision of a better alternative and map out a route to realizing that vision.
Conscious.Travel isn’t just another buzzword but an integrating rallying cry, a call to those working in or outside the travel community who want to be more; who believe tourism can be a positive and healing change agent; who want to find meaning and purpose in their work; who want to generate real benefits for host communities; who desire to create sustainable incomes and healthy profits, while helping solve the environmental, social and economic challenges facing humanity.
Conscious Travel has also been created to help tourism providers come to grips with and harness the enormous change forces at work at this particular time in history that are changing our very perception of reality. It’s as if we are all having to put on very different lenses than we have used before and, as a consequence, the reality we perceive and what we consider to be important will change. This is likely to be the biggest mindset shift since Copernicus and later Galileo confirmed that the sun did not revolve around planet earth.
The movement is designed to integrate and support the creative thinking emerging from a diverse range of interests within tourism including ecotourism, geotourism, responsible tourism, adventure travel, tourism philanthropy, slow tourism, Tourism 2.0, green travel, ethical tourism, community-based tourism, and indigenous tourism to name but a few initiatives that are responding to the challenges of our time.
The need now is for integration, for collaboration and for unity of purpose and, most of all, for articulation of a clear, creative and positive vision for the future.
2. Learning Program: The movement is based upon a portfolio of online resources (webinars, workbooks, papers, workshops) designed to develop the leadership, operational and marketing capacity of Conscious Hosts and their ability to attract, engage and support Conscious Travellers. The program delivers tools and knowledge designed to:
- Build “Conscious Leadership” capacity – Conscious Hosts hosts are, by definition, “awake, alert and aware”. Their leaders have a clear sense of purpose; their decisions are values-based; and the corporate culture is designed to maximize the value to all stakeholders;
- Design, develop and deliver Transformative Experiences for their guests either individually or in collaboration with local partners that result in high rates of referral; higher spend, longer stays in a region and or repeat visits.
- Show that they care for all the stakeholdersaffected by their business by:
- living in harmony with the natural environment and have taken specific actions to minimize waste and conserve or, where possible, revitalize, the local natural environment;
- respecting, sustaining and revitalizing local cultures and contribute to developing and conveying a unique sense of place;
- providing a positive, flourishing work environment in which employees are appropriately rewarded and recognized; enjoy a fair wage; and have the opportunity to grow and develop.
- delivering exceptional experiences to guests that are perceived as at least “high value” and better “transformative” or life changing;
- Using and supporting local suppliers and suppliers who can demonstrate that they act responsibly;
- Returning an above average and sustainable financial return to their investors
- Being viewed as a positive force for good in their local community.
- Ensure the personnel working as Conscious Hosts are adept at using digital technologies to attract, engage and inspire their guests; and
- Deliver above average rates of return to investors; generate the highest new benefit to host community; enjoy high rates of referral and a positive reputation in the market place.
3. Collaborative Community: Conscious Travel is also all about businesses taking responsibility for responding to change; for collaborating more effectively as destination communities and learning to help one another. Where sufficient suppliers have consciously committed to investing time and effort in becoming conscious hosts, the destinations in which they operate will be more effective in attracting the type of traveler that will stay longer, spend more; use fewer non-renewable resources; generate less costly impacts and become cost effective advocates and co-marketers for the destination.
What are the change drivers necessitating a new approach?
Benefits of Serving Conscious Guests