A creative critique to the current environmental, social and economic downsides of conventional tourism, as a participatory, locally oriented, bottom-up alternative.Definition of Nanotourism
Nanotourism is a a type of tourism that focuses on what you do in a destination rather than where you go or how far you go to get there.
The travel and tourism sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and there is increasing debate and discussion about what we can learn from the experience and what we can improve going forward. How do we make it more responsible? And how do we begin to rebuild? What should we rebuild?
One suggestion that seems to be becoming increasingly supported is nanotourism. A nanotourist doesn’t just see a destination, they participate in the community there, becoming involved in the place rather than simply regarding it as a generic destination. This destination could be your local neighbourhood, your city, your country or another, where you exchange knowledge and experiences with others around you. In this way, as the pandemic has impacted the ease and distances we are able to travel, nanotourism could offer a great new alternative.
2. Closer to home
Concerns over travel safety and changing restrictions have made people think more this year about tourism closer to home. Being a nanotourist in your own country not only reduces negative the social and environmental impacts of pre-pandemic tourism levels and mass tourism, but it can pave the way for enhancing local heritage, development of responsible and social economies, and inclusion, by tourists spending time to get to know their home and community and caring for it more.
3. Slow travel
The concept of point-to-point holidays where tourists visit just one destination has also changed since the pandemic. More people are looking to travel slower, to do trips that take in multiple locations and are about experiencing these different places rather than a quick one off holiday. This trend surely compliments nanotourism as people seek to see more of a location and its community than before. Additionally, the average trip planned in 2021 is around two weeks, with short weekends away and 24-hour breaks no longer so popular, especially with the increased availability of remote working. Travellers wish to spend longer in a place and really get to know it.
4. Social distancing
In an effort to avoid crows and unnecessary risks post pandemic, local tours, volunteering on small projects and activities like agrotourism, which all come under nanotourism, are increasing. People are hesitant to head to tourist hotspots or busy beaches, searching instead for unique and authentic stays in quieter places where the contact they do have with other people is more valuable and memorable.
5. Meaningful travel
The halt to tourism brought on by the pandemic seriously harmed many communities and conservation projects around the world that are completely reliant on tourism. Many people are aware of this and are eager to get out there and support them. An increase in meaningful travel which is centred around giving back to the planet goes hand in hand with the concept of nanotourism. Thinking more about where and how we travel, and our interacting with destination’s communities can only be a good thing, and nanotourism is just that.