Bicycle Tourism: Post-Pandemic Responsible Traveling
For many years, tourism seemed on a path of more, more, more. Throngs of people, loads of buses, and fleets of cruise ships packed top locales.
The COVID-19 pandemic, for a time, put a halt to tourism, and its excess. This created an opportunity for a new kind of tourism, one that could be more focused on slower travel, unique experiences, and more responsible exploring.
Here are a few reasons why.
1. Destinations come alive again without the crowds.
Popular destinations have fallen victim to overtourism for years. More people have lead to larger crowds, pollution, and fewer resources. Without all the people, destinations can reclaim what makes them so special, putting the focus back on what makes them worth visiting. Such overtourism has made people living in popular destinations feel like theme park attractions, not to mention the rising cost of living in such a hotspot that often leads to residents moving out of their homes.
With cycle tourism, cities aren't overrun. Bicycle tours don't come with large buses parked on every street or huge cruise ships unloading thousands of passengers. Instead, this type of travel is more sustainable and respectful of the essence of the city.
2. Slow travel means more money spent locally.
Tourists on a cruise or bus tour typically spend very little money in the places they visit. Their trips are often all-inclusive, leaving little need to try a local restaurant or take an unplanned tour of a museum or attraction. A
On the other hand, bicycle tourists take their time, checking out local shops and spending their money at small, family-owned businesses. They often make money stops along their tour, too, unlike bus tours, which are more focused on point-to-point travel.
Bicycle tours put money into local tour companies, guides, restaurants, and hotels, instead of giving more money to large companies.
3. Bicycle tours prioritize up-and-coming destinations.
Bicycle tours make there way through emerging destinations, not just the well-known spots. Some places don't even want to "emerge," but rather stay small and "unknown," giving visitors an authentic look into their way of life.
4. Bicycle tourists are good guests and great local ambassadors.
Bicycle travelers are ambassadors on two-wheels, something that will be even more important in a post-COVID world. The pandemic poses a paradox of yearning for closeness while also having hesitation toward strangers and unknown places.
As cyclists make their way through a locale, they are able to spend more time and really get to know people. This promotes better understanding and boosts acceptance of the formerly unknown.
5. Bicycle tourism is good for the environment.
With fewer cars and buses on the road and less traffic during the pandemic, pollution has lifted from many cities. Cycling can help maintain the lowered levels of pollution.
6. Bicycle tours are great small group, outdoor activities
The impact of COVID-19 will likely linger for a long time, including a reluctance to join in large crowds. Bicycle tours are typically made up of small groups, keeping their distance on the route and throughout the day. This is even more true on self-guided tours, which allow groups to pick who they are riding with and where they want to stop.
Additionally, bike tours happen outdoors, many times in rural settings. This means fewer people and a safer flow of air (and germs!).