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Where Does Travel Go From Here?

By Greg Sullivan

Nov 24, 2020

From the January/February 2021 issue

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Photo by Peter Bohler

The pandemic crushed the travel industry. As we look to a brighter future, AFAR founder Greg Sullivan shares how we can make travel a more positive force in the world.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much pain and destruction. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and to those who have suffered through sickness and confinement. And I feel such empathy for those who have had their livelihoods upended and dealt with financial hardship. Our industry, the travel industry, has been crushed, and the consequences have affected so many of our friends and colleagues. It is heartbreaking. AFAR has not been immune. While we greatly expanded our digital content in 2020, our Where to Go 2021 issue—on newsstands in mid-December—is the first we have published since last spring. 

We are fully aware that the pandemic is not behind us yet. We also know that we can do better, both as an industry and as travelers. As we begin to reimagine travel, AFAR has joined an industry effort called the Future of Tourism, which is dedicated to inspiring and educating travel businesses and travelers alike to improve upon we were doing before the pandemic. 

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We have always believed that travel can be a powerful force for good in the world. Done right, travel can redistribute wealth; broaden people’s perspectives and make them wiser and more caring; and support people who have been shortchanged by prejudice and systemic barriers. And it can do all this while leaving a lighter environmental footprint. To us, the future of travel is one in which local businesses and residents welcome visitors who seek to give, not just take, when they experience a destination. “Our presence changes a place,” writes Eric Weiner. “The question is how.”

To us, the future of travel is one in which local businesses and residents welcome visitors who seek to give, not just take, when they experience a destination.

At AFAR, we’ve long said that our readers are the world’s best travelers because we’re a company driven by values, and you respond to those values. You care. You want to make a positive difference. You want to do better.

Based on the way people throughout the world responded to the pandemic, I’m hopeful that there are many more people like you out there. You are the role models who influence how others travel. We at AFAR will do our utmost to help people to be better travelers and more conscientious world citizens. And we ask you to continue to push yourselves to be better travelers. What you do makes a difference. 

Together, we can make travel a much more positive force in the world. We look forward to making the journey with you.

>>Next: We’re All Going to Be Better Travelers Now, Right? A Comedian on Our New Global Future

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