What is slow tourism and how can it change your vacation for the better?

According to TripAdvisor research, there is finally some good news for the travel industry. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, Americans are gearing up for this summer’s vacation, both across the country and abroad.

The study found that three-quarters of Americans plan to “see new places” during the year, and 34 percent want to immerse themselves in “an authentic local experience.”

For those looking to do something different after two years of canceled plans, slow tourism is a chance to experience dream places like a local. Here’s a rundown of this more mindful way to travel, as well as five ways it can change your vacation.

What is slow tourism?

Whether you’re heading overseas or just crossing state lines, slow tourism is a chance to experience local culture. The idea is to connect with the place you are visiting by discovering delicious food, different musical styles, or places off the beaten path.

A response to overtourism and the climate crisis is a more responsible way of seeing the world, which includes staying longer and using greener modes of transport.

This was told by Sally Gandon, a consultant at Acorn Tourism Consulting. Newsweek it made for the best experience. “Staying longer, they gradually immerse themselves in the culture and the local way of life. [life].”

David Ward-Perkins, Senior Consultant at TEAM Tourism Consulting, is based in France and specializes in the sustainable and socio-economic development of tourism destinations around the world. He said Newsweek that slow travel is “the opposite of tourism to tick off” and “much better” for visitors and places visited.

“Tourism is being consumed more and more with speed. Take your time, do it well. Live new experiences and have fun,” he said.

Benefits of Slow Tourism

  • Adventures that happen once in a lifetime
  • Meeting new and interesting people
  • Telling your comfort zone
  • Reducing your carbon footprint
  • How to avoid holiday burnout.

Adventures that happen once in a lifetime

Go beyond the usual holiday destinations and find hidden gems and less traditional activities. Instead of spending all your time at the pool or queuing for hours at a big attraction, the goal is to get out and explore. Sample traditional cuisine, visit the local market, learn a new skill or see local art.

“When it started in Italy, [slow tourism] was considered a niche activity,” Ward-Perkins said. “The world has caught up.”

For some, slow tourism means a complete lack of purpose. Forget about careful planning or maps, just see where the day takes you.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up tours or destination lists entirely. Rather than trying to cram as many experiences into your vacation as possible, be selective and make the most of the ones you choose.

Male tourist standing on top of a hill
Tourist celebrating reaching the top of the hill. You may not think so from the name, but slow tourism is all about adventure and unforgettable experiences.
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