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These quick tips are designed to help you get through these hard times. If you have any tips that you want to share, send them to in a new tab)

Sustainability has long been the dream for many tour operators(opens in a new tab), but often an unobtainable one. It’s hard to redesign a well-established tour company to become a sustainable one, whether it’s a lack of funds, guidance, or most commonly, a lack of time.

The abrupt halt to business as usual in the tourism sector has given us the chance to start afresh. We know that the industry will never be the same again, but this isn’t necessarily negative. On the contrary, we can introduce sustainability into the foundations of the tourism industry as we start to rebuild together.

The effects of overtourism have become more evident as once-crowded spaces continue to remain empty. Elephants have been released from camps and sanctuaries who struggle to maintain them, cougars are roaming the streets of Chile’s capital Santiago, and fish have returned to Venice’s canals. As the majority of the world’s population is cooped up in their houses, we are beginning to experience nature’s return to typically congested hotspots. As travel picks up again, it’s very likely people will also want space, consequently, the once-popular travel destinations will no longer be top of the list.

Skift wrote about how destination marketing organizations have an important role to play(opens in a new tab) in promoting the idea of maintaining the recuperation that nature has made over the last few months. And with government restrictions on group sizes, it provides the ideal opportunity for the travel industry to keep the number of tourists at a manageable level for the mutual benefit of health safety and natural preservation. If governments around the world start to introduce protocols and global standards for sustainable travel, it will make our decisions much easier. But in the meantime, small tour operators can keep an eye out for larger tourism marketing bodies taking a sustainable approach and pick up some tips from them.

Right now, the priority is how to get tourism back on track, but we need to consider rebranding what tourism is, and what it stands for in the 21st century. We are at an essential turning point, with murmurs of discontent over overtourism from tourists, locals, and operators alike beginning to get louder long before the onset of Coronavirus. While the priority is shifting in order to prioritise calm and the path less travelled, tourism hasn’t quite had the chance to catch up yet. Now we have the opportunity, as the pandemic has not only given us the time to think but also the space to change going forward.

If you’re interested in moving towards sustainable travel, check out Sustainable Travel International(opens in a new tab) for advice from the experts.

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