I miss abroad. I miss new unfamiliar places and old familiar places.
Longing for a trip abroad feels almost like recognition. Not just because so many EM tourists have just brought coronavirus infection as gifts. During the pandemic, tourism has become socially controlled anyway.
Before the pandemic, of course, people could talk about flight shame and, fortunately, consider the responsibility of tourism more broadly, but over the past year, people have also wondered whether it is worth revealing that they have even visited Lapland on social media. Those who have booked trips abroad in the hope of better times have often done so in silence.
The trips are not preceded by pre-emptive mood and asking for tips from others, but a health-safe explanation. Others want to be told that the destination is close to their own gang, in their own accommodation, of course with masks, and there was little else on the plane, on the beach, or on the track.
Traveling avoidance has been necessary. In order to curb the pandemic, it has been necessary for people to be globally fortified in their countries of residence. One of the best aspects of last year and a half is that Finns have found Finland as a tourist country. But the pandemic has not lost the desire to see and experience more. Fortunately, for what would a world be like where we would potterize our homelands and meet only familiar things, cultures and customs, and familiar people?
Domestic and international tourism serve different needs. In the debate of the pandemic period, foreign tourism has been delicately truncated as a mere futile desire to seek sun from tourist rice. The black aspects of tourism are the boastful consumption that comes with cheap flights and reckless mass tourism, which is unsustainable both ecologically and socially.
Tourism habits are learned where all consumption habits are. Indeed, the stagnation of the pandemic and the critical debate should seem to be a turning point, after which tourism begins to become more responsible. Tourism when it offers much more than the sun in November: valuable experiences, encountering diversity, intercultural interaction and increased understanding.
An important question for tourism is how it returns. For it will return, has already returned in part. And the decline in tourism has not been without problems. The tourism industry is a major employer globally, and the losses during the pandemic have been massive for individuals and societies. In many places, tourists are eagerly awaited, in others, the return of mass tourism is feared.
Tourism has been in change for a long time. Futurist Elina Hiltunen writing before the pandemic period In the Future of Tourism report trends in the tourism industry included sustainable tourism, traveling in pursuit of pure nature, the specialization of travel agents in serving certain types of travelers, and the desire to experience authentic locality instead of tourist traps.
However, compared to many other areas, the debate on the responsibility of tourism is still quite narrow. It largely focuses on the individual and avoiding low-cost flights or all travel. However, responsibility issues extend to a much wider area.
The more critical attitude towards tourism brought about by the pandemic period will expand in the near future into a more diverse debate, as is already the case in many other areas. Companies will also be required to be more active and transparent in matters of responsibility in the tourism sector. More responsible consumption requires a debate on what all the dimensions of ecological, social and cultural sustainability are and what solutions and innovations support them.
The author is the editor-in-chief of HS.