Let’s be honest, the pandemic has affected us all in different way. Starting with the unfortunate human losses and health effects, up to material, job and business losses, not counting the loss of certain habits or freedoms that we used to have and that we are not sure of immediately recovering.
Tourism has been one of the activities most affected by the pandemic, travel and mobility restrictions have represented the biggest blow to the industry in its history, we all know the consequences, they may not be worth remembering in this text.
The reality in the tourism industry in Mexico is very complex, according to INEGI figures, in 2019 tourism represented 8.7% of the national Gross Domestic Product, contributing more than 4.5 million direct and indirect jobs. (INEGI, 2020)
And according to the tourism secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués, tourism Micro-small and medium enterprises account for 98.9 percent of all companies in the tourism sector in the country. (SECTUR, 2020)
We can understand then, that the great weight of the pandemic has fallen to a greater extent on all those small companies on which thousands of families depend. Tourism companies’ work teams have had to sacrifice resources, salaries, time and opportunities to stay afloat, dealing with uncertainty, fear and concerns.
However, not all are regrets and losses, in front of us, we have been presented with the opportunity to make unprecedented leaps towards technological and social advances that under another context, would have been impossible or at least slow.
The road to recovery will be slow and uphill, however there are some signs that promise that little by little, we will travel again and we must take advantage of this unbeatable opportunity to do better tourism in Mexico and Latin America.
I share some points to be a more responsible traveler and contribute to the speedy recovery of tourism:
1 – Find out about the destinations
Every journey begins with an idea or a dream. Research the destinations you would like to visit, look for images, videos and texts about the destination, its culture and its natural heritage. The excitement of a trip is built when you plan it, read the opinions of other travelers and start planning.
2 – Travel safely to local destinations
Safety is the priority at all times, look for companies and operators that have safety protocols (both for Covid-19 and for any type of risk). Choose local businesses that operate in local destinations near your location. The reactivation of tourism is beginning to take place locally.
3 – Look for companies that promote conservation
It is time to transform our paradigms and understand our power as travelers and consumers. It researches and hires companies that promote the conservation of the cultural and natural heritage of destinations. Tourism is a great tool to trigger positive impacts not only in tourism companies, but also in destination communities.
4 – Promote and share information on social networks
Many tourism companies are making a great effort to generate valuable content. Sharing information about destinations, companies and experiences has a great impact for small businesses and destinations. Share valuable and quality information, recommend places that you have been able to visit in the past and promote your region. Social networks are a showcase to the world
5 – Plan your trip in advance
Although there is an uncertain future, you can start planning your trips in 2021. Follow the recommendations of the experts, pay attention to the security measures and start planning your trips in advance. Look for options that offer flexibility and if you can, book services early. The impact it will have on tourism companies will be of great impact, both economically and emotionally.
Without a doubt, we will have to reflect and transform our habits, since part of the global problem has been our inability to maintain sustainable and responsible practices with the environment and with other human beings. The fragility of economic and business models and the lack of practicality and efficiency of government and social institutions have been in evidence. We have to promote more sustainable processes and projects, a better financial and business culture to create resilient economies, based on professionalization, sustainability and collaboration between different actors in society: Travelers, Companies, Organizations and Government. The best way to emerge stronger from this crisis is to work together and aspire to fairer, more inclusive and sustainable tourism.