• Jaclyn Hogan

Supporting small business in the new era of travel

The COVID-19 catastrophe has already changed our travel behaviors. Border closures, city lockdowns, a tightened supply chain, sharp declines in consumer demand, and grounded flights have all contributed to the predicted slow recovery back to health for the travel sector. 

Every artery from the travel industry has been impacted. But as we try to make sense of this panic and disruption on such an unprecedented scale, it has brought our focus back to the home front, and how we are all weathering the storm together as a community. 

As we make the correct steps to revitalize our local economies, we will be needing – even craving — escapes and adventures more than ever. We are social creatures, and isolation isn’t in our genetic history. Local travel will be the sustainable fuel to ignite the globalized travel economy again with its unique ability to ground us and amplify all the beauty we have in our backyards. 

Restoring and reinforcing our sense of community 

When imagining what the future of travel will look like, the priorities that once stood are not going to be the same. As our restlessness grows, and our minds because nostalgic to a time not long ago, there is a lot of enthusiasm to travel again and jump into exciting and vibrant new places.

The beautiful idea here is that we just need to shift our coordinates a bit to look more local to satisfy our thirst. One of the most positive aspects to come from the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic is the power of our community, and how we have all come together for strength and support. There has been a special bond between customers and local businesses, and 2020 has instilled a greater sense of connection and resiliency to the community. 

Localism will become the way the travel industry will come back 

It is safe to predict that people will begin to appreciate their rural areas around cities once more and help local small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector thrive as a result. 

People still love to travel, to connect, to explore – that is never going to change. Our drive to connect and our quest to push the limits is embedded in us. This won’t mean that once the global borders are safely opened up that we will abandon our local roots; quite the opposite really. 

The current global crisis will compel the international traveler to slowly test the waters across local destinations with less pressure. To enjoy healthy choices, affordable trips, and clean attractions, in a cost-effective and sustainable way to do so. 

You don’t have to look any further than the small, but mighty businesses nestled across the Midwest. 

Nature will be desired for more meaningful travel experiences 

As we take into account these new public health concerns with smaller groups, social distancing, and sanitized spaces, it will naturally rewrite the new standard for travel. The modern adventurer will more likely be interested in exploring nature for purposeful experiences post-COVID. 

Authentic experiences that allow you to jump into a guilt-free day away are easily attainable. By allowing yourself to be immersed in nature; to let your mind wander, and your taste buds soar, are all the simple aspects that define the true definition of travel. 

Weddings, bridal parties, corporate teams, and reunions will all see a shakeup with how they were once structured. Rather than having massive spreadsheets to plan huge events, the idea of small and local will take flight. Local cideries, wineries, and farmers’ markets will establish meaningful moments for these crowds. Food and U- Pick Farm tours will define the next generation of the weekend warrior. Brewery and distilleries will be an experience that comes with no expiration date. And the local mom and pop food and wine tastings will be the new frontier that helps ground us than ever before. 

The local tourism sector will become a pillar of strength and resiliency 

We can all do our part to help these local establishments bounce back, and in turn, they will be helping us on levels that were once unimaginable. The personal freedoms we once took for granted collapsed before our eyes, and what was once a perceived right to take part in effortless travel is now a luxury.  

We will see a revitalization of the local tourism sector. It will become even more a pillar of strength and resiliency in our communities that we can look to for support, encouragement, and new experiences. The emotional connection we have with these local brands will become paramount, because of how we know them on a personal level. 

Wayward Tours is solely focused on the idea of F.L.O.S.S - fresh, local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable. This is the ethos that guides our compass to working with distinctly Midwest partners that use sustainable ingredients and seasonal tastings to comprise their business model. We are excited to help write the next chapter of local travel!

#smallbusiness #shoplocal #ecotourism


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