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National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Explorer


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How can the travel and tourism industry catalyze conservation?

Every day tourism and travel expose millions of people to nature, history and culture. Can this mega-industry help catalyze mega-conservation of its most valuable assets? Are new partnerships needed? Green rating systems? Additional travel taxes? Governmental commitments?


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    Mar 7 2011: Tourism needs to evolve. What I see is that In a sustainable future, travel will involve more people traveling more lightly to more places, with virtual ubiquity, intercultural transactions including micro-philanthropic and social capital exchanges as new norms. Recognizing that classical travel modes are already sustainable, modern tourist developments will be made sustainable through Adaptive Design, a mode of development which provides multiple (3-5) diversified core attractions/activities that anticipate changes in travel patterns. Each attraction will be optimized to flourish in differing scenarios, complementing one another and positioning destinations to adapt to changing clientele dynamics such as: local vs distant visitors, cultural/education seekers vs sightseers, seasons visited, business vs recreational travellers. Attention to making the minimum local environmental impact, and to providing the maximal local economic and cultural benefits will make these destinations more welcome in local communities, more resilient, and more welcoming to increasingly informed and optimal-experience seeking travellers.As superficial and rich guidance becomes widely accessible through online channels, the travel industry will need to evolve to provide better, deeper guidance to catalyze intercultural access and facilitate greater local benefits. Travel guidance will need to adapt to the internet-connected world to provide more personalized services with deeper knowledge and insights. Travel services that support unique, small scale and high quality experiences will be more highly prized across nearly all age ranges.Millions take travel and international interaction for granted and travel, tourism, expat communities and multi-cultural identities are becoming increasingly accepted norms. The ranks of travel-comfortable citizens will continue growing. Travellers seek increased quality experiences while expecting decreases in environmental impact and local disharmony.

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