The journey matters
On 27 September we celebrate the World Tourism Day, which reminds us of the importance of tourism as a means of livelihood. The tourism industry is one of the sectors that was hit particularly hard by the more than two-year long corona pandemic when customers were lost from both hotels and service companies.
Around 60 million jobs were lost from international tourism in 2020 and many small family businesses had to close their doors if they couldn't survive the pandemic with savings.
In the summer of 2022, travel recovered rapidly, and travel companies around the world heaved a sigh of relief. Tourism is estimated to account for approximately 9% of global jobs in 2022, which makes tourism a significant employer. A traveller looking for a vacation or new experiences is therefore a truly meaningful employer, although it is rarely a motivating factor for the traveller.
Tourism brings a lot to the traveller themselves. The trip can be short or long, but it can always be an experience. I remember when, 10 years ago, my youngest child packed a small yellow suitcase when going to visit our neighbour. We were a bit amused by this careful preparation, but the traveller packed with such devotion and declared that packing was part of her magical trip where she and her friend will always be together.
Travelling is magical in many ways. As a mother, I am more present for the children during the trip, I stop and listen more sensitively. Children often feel that the trip involves a different kind of presence and togetherness. Meeting new and old acquaintances and observing different cultures create so much good that the disconnection was tangibly noticed when the world closed down during the corona years. Travel truly opens our minds.
Each of us as a traveller can make better choices, such as choosing the shortest route to your destination, combining different forms of travel (e.g. flight + train), offsetting the emissions of flying, packing lighter – even arriving on time for your flight matters so that the flight can leave on time and there is no need to strain in the air minutes by flying faster. In aviation, even the smallest things result in big savings in fuel consumption and emissions. Even at the destination, you should not forget the everyday habits – turn off the lights and air conditioning when you leave the hotel room, do not change towels every day, drink tap water and prefer vegetarian food. You can choose a hotel that takes care of recycling and strives to reduce its own emissions and support local businesses in the destination, so that the benefits that tourism brings also remains in the destination.
We are privileged to be able to travel so let's do it responsibly and enjoy it. Let's experience every trip as a unique magical trip and be happy that travelling has brought us together again.