Sustainability and Digital Tourism During COVID-19

AKA a Collaborative Project of a Handful of AIESEC Alumni From Africa and Europe

It seems that nearly all of humanity in this new decade works, shops, studies, exercises, attends conferences and visits religious gatherings without stepping out of their homes. Just a few mentions on how our entire world slipped on Covid – as if on a sneaky banana skin – by the end of 2019, and fell upside down on its back in the new year of 2020. More than ever before, we are heavily dependent on digital solutions, which became the only escape from lockups.

Heavy limits were instantly placed on every aspect of our lives, especially on our travel plans. As the cut on freedom of movement locks most of us into our accommodations, the chances of experiencing some sort of variety or diversity in our daily lives are knitted together with digital options.

So, why not use currently widely available simple technology for taking each other outdoors?

As of 6 April 2020, 96% of all world destinations have travel restrictions”, says the UNWTO global review on Covid and Tourism (1).

In the same month of this review, two AIESEC Alumni from Benin, and another two from AIESEC Alumni Europe produced a plan to help ease the pain of many: the inability to visit novel places.

#HopInOnline to visit #VirtualSights with #2MorrowDigitalTrips.

Our campaign calls for alumni to showcase their neighbourhoods from all over the world. Not necessarily typical tourist attractions, they invite everyone to locations and scenes—well-cherished and currently deeply missed—from their daily lives.

Our first episodes were delivered by those who initiated this project:

  1. Walking on a Sightseeing Tour With Stephi (insta: @conscious_travelista) from Germany
  2. Taking a Boat Ride With Ouakhilat (insta: @ouakhila) from Benin
  3.  Walking a Trail in the Woods With Kriszti (insta: @krisztina.kapuvari) from the UK
  4. Visiting the Historic City of Ouidah With Bernis (insta: @bhernys_) from Benin 

For more information on #2MorrowDigitalTrips, please visit: Bit.ly/2MorrowTripChannel

What can we do together through our project #2MorrowDigitalTrips for the Sustainable Development Goals?

1. Improve Mental Health – SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing:

Previous research has revealed a profound and broad spectrum of psychological impact that outbreaks can inflict on people. Among the general public at the individual level, it can precipitate new psychiatric symptoms in people without mental illness, aggravate the condition of those with pre-existing mental illness and cause distress to the caregivers of affected individuals (2).”

Stress levels skyrocket due to fear of infection, which provides an ideal environment for a variety of mental illnesses to emerge. The weight of these heavy limits, instantly enforced upon us, can easily form deep daily dissatisfaction coping with this dead-end cycle of monotonous days. Therefore, tuning in together for the premiers of our episodes from locations worldwide, live chatting with fellow spectators, can spice your weeks up. Moreover, those who decided to participate as #2MorrowDigitalTrips creators can also engage in meaningful activities by showcasing their nearby locations and learn, not just new things about their direct environment from the viewpoint of tourists but also, new skills like video editing. It can also be considered a form of art. Creative, artistic activities are statistically proven to help address issues with mental health. The aim is to have fun and create a brief split on the texture of this new life for joy to sneak in and ease this enormous stress weighing us down.

2. Support Third World Tourism – SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities:

Tourism can contribute to urban renewal and rural development by giving people the opportunity to prosper in their place of origin. Tourism serves as an effective means for economic integration and diversification (3).”

Some of the campaign participants will be from the developing world, which is hit the hardest from this ongoing crisis in terms of economic losses. Some locations have even lost their entire tourism industry. This campaign might not directly generate them any income, but it could help promote their areas, bring stakeholders and future tourists’ attention to their situation. Moreover, we invite our tourism expert alumni to contact twomorrowtrip@gmail.com with innovative solutions to support struggling local vendors afflicted by a loss of tourists. We prioritize the focus on implementable solutions in the Benin Republic, but we are also interested in world-wide options to link stakeholders together.

3. Preserve Cultural and Natural Heritage – SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities:

Tourism can advance urban infrastructure and accessibility, promote regeneration and preserve cultural and natural heritage, assets on which tourism depends. Investment in green infrastructure (more efficient transport, reduced air pollution) should result in smarter and greener cities for, not only residents but also tourists (4).”

Staying home clearly has a positive impact on our environment, which perhaps will encourage future travellers to be more conscious about their means of travel choices. It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase these impacts of the healing of nature by creators from all over the world; for example, Venetian water is clearing up, the Himalayas are visible from a distance and not smog-covered etc..

Our campaign also helps to shed light on less touristy locations, which can even out the traffic in the future and enhance interest in visiting less popular destinations over those heavily polluted. Also, we encourage every creator to preserve their own cultures during the digital trips and showcase aspects of native habits of locals whenever possible.

4. Innovate Alternative Solutions – SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure:

The sector can influence public policy for infrastructure upgrade and retrofit, making them more sustainable, innovative and resource-efficient and moving towards low carbon growth (5).”

Virtual Reality devices are getting increasingly more available to the public that could help, not just to organize wonderful trips to precious locations but, to showcase the environmental impact of the destruction of flora and fauna on the altar of the tourism industry, or other fabricated disasters. All the while, our project is currently operating in a humble technological environment, which allows us to capitalize on the widely used low-priced platforms of the digital era. Nonetheless, we are still touching upon this SDG, as an innovation ignited by Covid. Also, one of our future collaborations will take us to a farm in the developing world, highlighting its agricultural infrastructure. We invite all of you to join in and showcase any outdoor projects fitting this SDG in your neighbourhood.

5. Support small agencies in the 3rd World – SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth:

Tourism, as services trade, is one of the top four export earners globally, currently providing one in ten jobs worldwide (6).”

With our project being hosted and primarily organized by a young-Alumnus-run agency from Benin, we are hoping to support him to reach his mission: “bringing worldwide tourism closer to the Benin Republic to create more jobs and designing affordable ways to let all Beninese locals get access to travel to discover the rich beauty of their land”.

On this note, we would like to invite you to visit the beautiful and bold Benin after the lockdown is lifted. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

– Krisztina Kapuvari

Resources:

  1. COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions a Global Review for Tourism
  2. Mental Health Strategies to Combat the Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Beyond Paranoia and Panic
  3. SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities – Tourism for SDGs
  4. SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities – Tourism for SDGs
  5. SDG 9 – Industry Innovation and Infrastructure – Tourism for SDGs
  6. SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – Tourism for SDGs

Authored & Published by Krisztina Kapuvari | Illustrated by Oğuz Yılmazlar |Edited by Gergely Lázár & Lee Vallance

|Supported by Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Substack, Twitter & WordPress

PaleBlue.WhatAreYouStillWaitingFor.Space

© 2020 WAYSWiFt Works

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