What Is The Slow Travel Movement
Imagine for a moment lines of tourists taking a selfie in front of an iconic spot for their latest Instagram post and then rushing off to the next destination to check off the next must-see bucket list spot. Or somebody trying to cram as many activities into a trip just so they can say they’ve done it all.
Got that in mind? Well, Slow Travel is exactly the opposite of that! It’s intentionally choosing to travel differently that connects travelers with the local culture, often through its local gastronomy, but it can also become slower by trading out a rushed van tour for a leisurely walking or biking tour of the same place.
A key takeaway that represents Slow Travel is to provide meaningful moments where travelers can get to know and connect with the locals and their culture in an unconventional way.
History Of The Slow Travel Movement
Many people are familiar with the original slow movement, Slow Food. Flashback to 1986, when Carlo Petrini and other Italian activists were busy at work creating the Slow Food movement. A movement that directly challenged the Fast Food culture that threatened a very important part of Italian culture, quality Italian food. Throughout the past three-plus decades, many different slow movements ranging from fashion to travel were born.
Unsurprisingly, Slow Travel’s values are all about being environmentally conscious and connecting with the local culture while also slowing down to enjoy the simple pleasures that travel provides.
Why Slow Travel Is Important To Your Tour Business
At this point, you may say to yourself, well, this is all good and great, but what does it have to do with me? Why should I care? Numbers don’t lie, and the Booking Sustainable Sustainable Travel Report from 2021 has proved that travelers across the globe are interested in Slow Travel.
A few standout statistics are:
- 84% believe increasing cultural understanding and preservation of cultural heritage is crucial.
- 73% want to have authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture when they travel.
- 34% of travelers find walking or cycling short distances to avoid public transport or cars a top priority during their everyday travel lives.
- 30% of travelers’ biggest impact concern is overcrowding popular sights or destinations.
Now that we’ve got you riled up and ready to implement Slow Travel into your business, you might ask yourself, where do I start? Let’s look at what the following three tours did right to craft the perfect Slow Travel experience.
Slow Travel Tour Examples
Experience Bella Vita’s Traditional Pasta Making Class with Nonna Amina checks off a few crucial Slow Travel boxes including authentic culture, a slow culinary experience, and connecting with locals. The traditional pasta-making class is led by Marino of Experience Bella Vita’s Grandmother, providing an even more genuine glimpse into the local-family life in Abruzzo, Italy.
Travelers not only get to learn how to make handmade pasta, a staple Italian tradition, but get to learn a beloved family recipe that has been passed down for generations. This tour is the essence of what Slow Travel is all about: slowing down to enjoy the simple things in life and being present to experience them with the locals.
You don’t need an Italian nonna to copy Experience Bella Vita’s format! The key here is using a culinary experience as a window into a place’s cultural identity and history. All cultures have their cuisine, so instead of heading to local restaurants, try hosting a cooking demonstration with a community member.
Next up is Eat Mexico’s fan-favorite Narvarte At Night: Tacos, Chelas & Mezcal. This food tour is a fun spin on the classic foodie-centric walking tour. A few simple tweaks, such as changing the tour time to a night tour and the location to a typical middle-class neighborhood, result in travelers tasting their way through family-style taquerias and the local bar scene, ultimately providing an authentic local experience. In fact, most of the reviews highlight how delighted they were to get a taste of how the locals live and how they wouldn’t have gone there without a local’s insight.
Wondering how you can duplicate Eat Mexico’s hit Slow Travel foodie tour? This is easier to do if you already have a foodie tour, as changing the time of the tour, or adding different stops at less-touristy areas are simple ways to provide a glimpse into local culture for travelers, AKA Slow Travel.
Another great example of Slow Travel executed correctly is Loop Tours’ Eat & E-Bike Gourmet Tour of Lucerne, Switzerland. They do a great job at effortlessly weaving the pillars of Slow Travel throughout their tour while still showing travelers the area’s highlights. How do they do this? Instead of a busy, typical coffee shop, they take travelers to a hidden spot that is popular with the locals. As for transportation, they go the sustainable route without skimping on comfort by getting from point a to point b on E-bikes.
Last but not least, they provide a meaningful opportunity for travelers to connect with the locals by visiting a local farm before having lunch on the farm. What can we learn from Loop Tours? That by making minor sustainable and authentic tweaks, a Slow Travel Tour is born.
So Now You Know…
- What the slow travel movement is
- Why it’s important to your tour business
- How to adapt your tours to slow travel
What’s even more important than adapting your tours to new market trends? Investing in a website that will attract your target audience, and truly showcase those awesome tours you pour your heart and soul into!
Don’t know where to begin? No worries, that’s where we come in! Contact us today for a free consultation to create the website of your dreams.
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