Have you ever dreamed of travelling the world to discover the different peoples and cultures who live on our planet? Participative tourism is the answer for those travellers who value sharing and discovery first and foremost.
This form of tourism, which is the total opposite of mass tourism, provides unprecedented, authentic and friendly experiences that travellers will long cherish as unforgettable. It is a much-sought-after and ideal alternative for those looking for a novel experience.
What is partipative tourism?
Since paid holidays have become widespread, mass tourism has skyrocketed. However, this growth has a detrimental effect on many paramount things such as the environment, cultural heritage and even human relationships between hosts and visitors.
That is the reason why participative tourism has emerged.
This new form of tourism makes it possible to discover the place you are visiting, acting respectfully towards the host community and immersing yourself in its culture, habits and customs. It benefits local people fully and enables them to participate actively in the tourist experience of their region!
What are the different forms of participative tourism?
We have all heard of couchsurfing, a practice consisting in staying for free at someone’s place for the night. Another form of holidaymaking is wwoofing, meaning Willing Workers on Organic Farms, for which you receive free board and lodging. These practices are based on exchange and conviviality and are growing in popularity in our increasingly individualistic world.
However, other less familiar practices are appearing, based on participative tourism.
For instance, Warm Showers is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. This is the perfect option for those deciding to take a bicycle world tour.
We will also soon be launching HopTrips #Swap, which are to participative tourism what Wwoofing is to Organic Farming, with so-called ‘collective intelligence’ as an added bonus.
For those wishing to put exchange and sharing at the heart of their trip, without necessarily getting involved with a particular cause, a new trend called ‘Help Exchange’ is also becoming increasingly popular. Websites such as HelpX or WorkAway are offering assignments in many different institutions in exchange for free board and lodging.
Last but not least, you can also find travel agencies willing to deliver services that are environmentally friendly and based on discovery and exchange between peoples. One of these agencies is run by our Canadian friends from Passion Terre in Montréal: their Peruvian tour allows you to discover Quechuan culture while actually living with this indigenous people. You can also take part in traditional workshops. Other agencies, such as Double Sens (as it is known in French), offer ‘solidarity’ trips where travellers undertake work that responds to the needs of the host community (teaching lessons at school, building sanitation facilities, etc.).
There are so many rich and diverse activities that can turn your trip into something more than a simple visit: a true moment of sharing.
There is a real future in participative tourism
In a world of increasing individualism, where speed of delivery is the expected norm, the idea that one can take time to unwind and explore is becoming obsolete. The tourism industry is no exception to the rule and often must adapt to survive.
However, participative tourism focuses on sharing and exchange between peoples and cultures. It supports the values of citizenship and solidarity. While travelling, participative tourists purposefully take a more human look at the world, becoming more responsible consumers and participating in local life. This involves real moments of sharing and conviviality for all those who practise it.
Translated by Diane Cadiergue.