Transformational Travel is defined by the Transformational Travel Council as “any travel experience that empowers people to make meaningful, lasting changes in their life.”
There are lots of articles about transformational, experimental, conscious, responsible and just ‘different’ travel out there. This is a “hot” topic in all travel related conferences these days and many in the industry of travel and hospitality are trying to figure out how to become part of this trend.
We feel that we have “touched” the life of many travelers in the last 20 years in our hotels and lodges in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama and that it probably all comes down to walking the talk in terms of sustainability, providing a sense of place and keeping it local at all levels of the experience.
A colleague sent me this quote recently, but unfortunately, he could not remember who had sent this to him. But it is a great summary of the challenge that conventional travel is facing today:
“The current travel landscape is not conducive to the kind of exploration that inspires us to learn, grow and change. So much of travel has succumbed to serving a tourist that has unreal expectations, seeking only to be entertained, and worst of all, with a sense of entitlement. Not only is this toxic to the experience of travel, and the industry, but it exploits the destinations and the people we visit. “
The Transformational Travel Council states that Transformational Travel should include those three elements.
- Traveling with intention, openness, and mindfulness
- Engaging in challenging physical and/or cultural experiences
- Taking time for personal reflection & meaning-making
We agree and have taken this a few steps further. At the Cayuga Collection, we want to shift the paradigm and create a connection with the traveler that is beneficial for the traveler and the local host that is receiving and serving the traveler. Here are a few examples from our Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges on how we strive to be “transformational”.
It is very important that the transformation goes both ways. It is very special to see when travelers are inspired and in awe about their travel experience. But the same must be true for the local staff on the other side. A nature guide, a hotel employee or member of the local community needs to feel part of this positive transformation,