Sustainable Travel Now

If we want our wild places to be enjoyed by future travelers, we have to focus on sustainable travel today By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2015 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2015 TravelAge West

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In this issue of Explorer, we share the best in polar travel.

In this issue’s cover story, “Lands of Fire and Ice,” we examine some of the great adventures available to travelers in the polar regions. Whether clients are looking for dogsledding, reindeer herding, diving in polar seas or encounters with polar bears, the far north is one of the last great frontiers and has an abundance of the activities they seek.

Sadly, this destination is also one of the most fragile environments, making a polar trip a priority for anyone who wants to experience this region before it changes for good. The future becomes the past in the blink of an eye, so there is no time to waste.

One of the seminars at the recent Adventure Travel World Summit, held in Chile, attempted to look into the future of travel — all the way to the year 2030. As part of that exercise, the moderators also reminded us what the travel industry was like 15 or so years ago. This was a time when TripAdvisor and Google were still new (and Ask Jeeves seemed like a real alternative), people didn’t have apps or smartphones — or even Wi-Fi at home, in many cases — and taking an international trip often involved bringing traveler’s checks.

A lot has changed in 15 years, so you can imagine how different travel in 2030 might be. By then, there will be more than 8 billion people on the planet and at least 2 billion trips per year will be taken (double the number of today). There will be 3 billion millennials, and many travelers will not know a time without the Internet.

One would hope that this innate connectedness will help us be better world citizens, caring for our planet’s natural resources and attractions. These wild places are often where the most meaningful experiences are possible, so if we want travel to be as important to future generations as it is to all of us, we need to start protecting these areas today. The future is now, and 2030 will be here before you know it.

On another note, this is the last issue of Explorer for 2015. We’ve covered some amazing experiential travel this year, and we would like to know what you think of the magazine and what you’re interested in reading about in the future. Send us an email at Letters@TravelAge, and use the subject line “Explorer.” We look forward to bringing you even more adventures in 2016 and beyond.