I have myself been pondering where my wanderlust comes from or am I actually maintaining the feeling artificially. Like many others, in the past eight months I have travelled domestically more than for a long time. And boy, have I enjoyed! My eyes have finally opened to how much I still have to see in this long country.
Sustainable and responsible tourism has been a hot topic in the media lately. At the same time, the climate effects of flying are being talked about a lot. Once the situation allows, we will be taking people all over the World to experience, enjoy and relax, to live. We are enabling tourism and even encourage you to travel when the time comes. One should always take current circumstances and recommendations into consideration. We want everyone to be able to travel happily, taking the situation of the surrounding World into account. Although we cannot go abroad for the time being, you can still spend a holiday in your home town’s farm tourism destination, for instance. We enjoy it, too! When someone from our office is on holidays, (s)he is travelling. We are living and breathing the industry.
If one wants to go abroad, flying is usually the most realistic option. I admit, flying is unecological, but it would be hard to give it up totally. There are different estimations of when air traffic will be on the same level as before the pandemic and on what level the prices will be. Many have guessed that the proportion of cheap flights will decrease as business travellers, who have been the foundation for planes’ occupancy rate and airlines’ revenue base, have now been forced to move meetings online and finding it functioning. Climate change has not disappeared and right now, many tourism companies, like us, are updating strategies and concentrating on sustainability issues.
Although I do not believe I’d give up flying completely, I believe I will be flying less in the future. One does not need to fly every time or travel far. There are plenty of awesome destinations at home too! Everyone says Åland is amazing but have you been there yourself? Have you visited the local’s standard restaurant in Inari? Have you tasted kalakukko in the market square in Kuopio? Have you reached the three mountaintops of Koli? Are you familiar with Kiasma? How about the architecture of Alvar Aalto? How many of Finland’s 40 national parks have you visited?
Foreign countries can also be close by. I believe that once we get back into travelling again, we will start from the countries near us. Tallinn is not far away and neither is Estonia’s island triad Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Muhu. The fjords of Norway are breathtakingly beautiful. There are cruises to Vyborg and you can get to St. Petersburg in only a few hours by train from Lahti. I believe you get my point: even if you decided not to fly, you wouldn’t necessarily miss anything. You may even gain more. On the other hand, if you do fly, it’s always a good idea to check the chosen airline’s sustainability strategy and think what sort of business you want to support. For example, Finnair is planning to half their net emissions by 2025 compared to 2019 and be carbon neutral in 2045 (link: https://company.finnair.com/en/sustainability).
Other tips for responsible tourism:
- Make conscious choices
- Select your destination carefully
- Travel close
- If you go far away, stay there for as long as possible
- Prefer small local business in dining and in souvenir shopping
- Choose locally produced food
- Save energy, minimize waste
- Travel outside the high season
- Select a responsible tour operator
- Respect local culture
Let’s travel in good spirits as long as we notify the circumstances at hand, starting from the selection of destination!