I’ve missed wandering until my calves hurt. Getting lost and then found again. Making a serendipitous discovery on a small, empty street in a big, bustling city. Tasting a dish that has deep ties to traditions that aren’t my own. I’ve missed meeting strangers whose love of home and pride of place upend any preconceptions I might have had before visiting. I’ve missed figuring out the idiosyncrasies of transit systems. I’ve even missed hearing, “We’ve reached our cruising altitude.”
We will travel again soon—of that I am sure. Borders will reopen; family, friends, and loved ones will reunite; and milestones will once again be celebrated in crowded restaurants and on epic trips we’ve spent the last year wistfully dreaming about.
But when travel does come roaring back, I want it to be better—for travelers, for the communities they visit, and for the planet. During the past year, AFAR’s executive team has devoted considerable time to determining what matters now—for our company, travelers, and the world.
As you’ll see in myriad ways in 2021, we’re doubling down on the credo that travel is a force for good. In everything we do, we aim to inspire, guide, and empower travelers to have enriching experiences that make a positive impact. We can be more purposeful about the ways we travel. We can travel more slowly, empathetically, sustainably—and yes, joyfully.
In our new May/June 2021 issue, we celebrate the 2021 AFAR Travel Vanguard, six visionaries who are working to make the industry more inclusive, purpose led, environmentally and economically sound, intentional, and future proof. This year’s class of Vanguard honorees is changing the face of travel for good, and after the year we’ve all had—and the travel industry has felt so deeply—it seemed even more important to honor their contributions.