It is no secret that the travel industry has been hit hard due to the pandemic and its constraining health restrictions. Some of the biggest names in travel have suffered: in 2021, Lonely Planet closed offices in Melbourne and London and TripAdvisor and Airbnb laid off 25% of their staff. According to the World Tourism Organization, 100% of destinations had health restraints in place in 2020 and 2021.
This is indeed significant as tourism accounts for 10% of the global GDP.
So what will travel look like in the immediate future or in other words, in 2022? Some experts are claiming that at the beginning people will choose road trips over plane travel. Active and adventure-style travel will probably play a major role in the coming months as most activities are outside in nature.
The truth? We have no idea what will happen. Everything is speculation.
Before this pandemic, the travel industry was concerned with over-tourism. The industry was ready for a shift and it needed it. Today we know that travel is forever changed. Now we are presented with a moment to do things better.
Local tourism is the answer! Local travel is sustainable travel wherever you go locally.
Supporting local businesses helps with what is referred to as leakage. This speaks of the revenue that is lost once it goes to a foreign-owned business. It can be a hotel, restaurant, or even a tour company. If the company is foreign-based, it directly influences where the revenue and taxes of that company go.
There is a concept in economics called the local multiplier effect. It refers to the additional economic benefits when money is spent locally. It has been documented that when you spend locally, a higher percentage of that money will be recirculated in the community.
This can be directly through hiring local employees or purchasing local equipment or indirectly if that money is spent at another local business. The third way that the money is recirculated is via employees when they spend their money locally.
Moreover, it is not just an economic return that should be the goal of supporting local. A very important benefit is the deep connection that a locally-owned business will have with the local community. Research shows that a business can influence the well-being of a community, and contribute to the social capital.
Across the world, it is documented that tourism is bringing jobs, especially to rural areas, minorities, and women. It raises awareness for environmental and animal issues and fosters tolerance and understanding between different cultures.
That is why this is a call to action. Start by planning one local trip and be a tourist in your town.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Try a local restaurant that makes traditional food: options are unaccountable in Cairo!
Try a local restaurant that makes a cuisine you never tried: Mexican, Japanese, Lebanese or Chinese, Egypt has it all!
Browse local hashtags and location tags on Instagram or Tik Tok: visit the Museum of Egyptian civilization, Museum of Illusions, Monasterly Palace or The Baron Palace! Cairo itself is bustling with destinations that will blow your mind.
Follow travel bloggers focusing on your town, region, or country: one browsing session through Instagram and you are already connected to tens of travel bloggers who will make you fall in love with Egypt again and again!
Volunteer with a local organization: so many NGOs need your support today.
Take a local walking tour: walk like an Egyptian in Zamalek or Downtown and enjoy the hidden architectural gems in every building.
Visit a local museum: did you know that there are at least 75 museums in Egypt?
Visit a local artisan (glass blowing, lacemaking, ceramics): El Fostat welcomes everyone every day.
Plan a themed road trip: Siwa, Luxor, Aswan, El Fayoum, Dahab, Ras Sidr and many more are waiting for you!
Buy a travel guide and do activities from it.
Spend a weekend in a vacation rental in the North Coast, Gouna or sokhna and enjoy the luxuries of a home away from home (romantic, girls weekend, etc)
Satisfy your desire to travel by exploring your region. You might be surprised at what you find!