Pandemic lockdowns and their limitations on our ability to move freely in our hometowns, let alone elsewhere, have reminded us what a privilege it is to be able to travel.
As destinations open up, this realisation is likely to have an impact on future travel plans. With many people questioning whether it is necessary or ethical to travel at all, those that do want to escape everyday life are expected to make more responsible choices.
For most, the priority post-lockdown is to reconnect with family and friends, away from daily routine and the cities we live in. Firstly, people will want to do this in places they perceive to be safe. This is likely to mean that alternative destinations – those that are more remote, private and based in nature – will be favoured over traditional tourism hot spots.
Secondly, people will be more mindful as to how far they travel, with many cautious initially, and also aware that travel is not the necessity we once thought it to be. Destinations just an hour or two’s journey from home, prohibited during lockdowns, have become a lot more attractive.
This change in mindset is expected to fuel a growth in the trend for conscious travel. Already emerging pre-Covid, conscious travel is a movement towards being more mindful of the impact our travel has on the environment and actively making decisions that can ease this. As more people join this movement, there will be more pressure on the tourism industry to respond.
Here’s five reasons why we believe glamping provides the perfect post-pandemic escape for the conscious traveller.
Glamping provides a great opportunity to connect with family and friends in private and spend time in a natural, outdoor environment. Whether you stay in a luxury tent, a trailer or a treehouse, glamping destinations encourage their guests to embrace the great outdoors and embark on adventures they wouldn’t consider in a traditional resort, from extreme hikes to dining under the stars.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
The desire to spend more time outdoors brings with it a natural desire to protect the environment around us. Glamping is the ideal low footprint solution; canvas lodges are eco-friendly and put less strain on the environment than brick and mortar accommodation facilities. They have minimal impact on their natural surroundings and can be designed to complement the landscape around them, whether desert, beach or mountain.
Glamping enables people to experience the authentic parts of destinations they already love by trying something different, away from the big cities and tourism hot spots. Conscious travellers will enjoy experiencing a destination through a local’s eyes, consuming locally where possible and respecting local customs and traditions. This brings with it endless storytelling potential; hoteliers that choose to develop glamping sites have the opportunity to create unique and memorable experiences that are highly shareable.
CLOSE TO NATURE
Not all conscious travellers are willing to forego the luxuries of their favourite hotels and resorts, and neither should they have to. With glamping, it is possible to minimise your travel carbon footprint and also enjoy the comforts you expect when on holiday. Instead of booking a boutique five-star hotel, guests can opt for five-star glamping in lodges which includes multiple bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms, a swimming pool or sauna, and private verandas designed to bring guests as close to nature as possible.
From Hatta’s wadis to the mangroves of Abu Dhabi and the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah to the swathes of desert for which Dubai is renowned, the UAE has the ideal landscape for a variety of glamping destinations. Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon offer even more natural wonders waiting to be explored. For conscious travellers in the Middle East, glamping can combine the freedom, fresh air, nature, privacy, adventure and luxury they desire – all without having to get on an aeroplane. The lower initial investment required also means hoteliers can offer great value for money, making conscious travel in the Middle East more accessible than ever.
* The writer is CEO, YALA luxury canvas lodges