What is purposeful travel?

Posted by Anita Froneman on 31 May 2022

People travel for myriad reasons, but the past two years have made most of us take a good look at our lives and the things on which we spend our time and money.

Travel tourism

Many people are revisiting how and why they travel, particularly since travel was banned for a long time because of Covid-19. It seems that across the world, people are starting to travel less for fun, and more for certain causes, or at least self-improvement.

Guy Stehlik, CEO and founder of BON Hotels, calls purposeful travel a response to the pandemic, ‘but also to decades of over-consumption and over-tourism. Travellers, local and international, are now wanting to spend money on trips that count.’

And people are definitely aiming to travel, come what may. Travellers are planning to spend more this year: long-haul flights are coming back, travel budgets are higher and travellers are booking longer trips and spending more on accommodation, according to Skyscanner‘s latest search and booking data (May 2022). This is despite new Covid variants, the war in Ukraine and high jet fuel prices.

What does purposeful travel look like?

Sustainable, more eco-conscious tourism, where travellers try to make sure their presence and spend have a positive impact on local communities, or where they can get actively involved in conservation projects or the preservation of natural environments.

Adventurous travel, where travellers aim to do something a little out of the ordinary. They get out of their comfort zone, try new things and take some calculated risks.

Health, well-being and self-improvement, for example, yoga and meditation workshops – South Africa has an enviable selection of retreats on offer, from art classes in Clarens to mindfulness in Greyton, and even yoghurt- and cheese-making courses along the Garden Route.

Pilgrimages such as the Camino de Santiago, Japan’s Kumano Ancient Trail and the Char Dham in India are expected to grow in popularity over the next few years. They’re an opportunity to step completely away from everyday life, connect with the great outdoors, and enter a world of self-reflection. In South Africa, you can find all this on a trek across the Karoo along the Tankwa Camino.

Digital nomadism and the chance to work from anywhere in the world. With the rise of the “workcation”, many travellers now work and workers travel, blending business and pleasure like never before.

Family reunions and reconnections have become really important. Covid has kept many loved ones apart for a long time, and families in different parts of the world are making up for lost time.

Picture: Unsplash


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