Luxury – Experiential – Transformational Travel
Luxury Travel in it’s simplest form has always been about creature or to say material comforts related to a travel journey. This would include 5 star luxury hotels, private limo transfers, premium class airline travel, private jets, private yachts, luxury villas, helicopter transfers and excursions, stay in Suites, fine dining in Michelin star restaurants, party in members only Night clubs, and related VIP services.
We cannot and should not deny above baseline definition of Luxury. But for some (and its debatable if this some are few or large in numbers, since it’s personal and relates to the evolution of self), luxury is more than just material comforts. For them Luxury is an emotion, a connect, and it is transformational i.e. is both personal and community level.
Evolution of Luxury Travel:
It all started with combining and offering experiences on luxury trips to clients (tourists in a state of evolution). These experiences helped the travelers to activate their five senses while on their journeys, and started to redefine luxury. This is when luxury was reintroduced as experiential luxury travel or high-end experiential travel to discerning clients.
The tourists, ticking off their check lists, were no more happy with the status-quo, and demanded more from their journeys. This was the rise of the discerning client, we would like to designate as a traveler (an evolved tourist), who is seeking experiences, with an urge and need to connect with the local people, places, culture, traditions, heritage, food and adventure.
They wanted to do things rather than just see them. They started seeking authenticity, inspirations from their travels.
Experiential Travel was born, in the shadow and as a meaningful extension of Luxury travel.
Then came the final stage wherein the discerning traveller engaging in local experiences further evolved to see a meaningful transformation from their journeys, and these they sought both at personal as well as community level.
Kudos! and this was the rise of Transformational Travel.
“Intentionally traveling to stretch, learn, and grow, ultimately leading to new ways of being and engaging with the world.”
Transformational Travel is not limited to any specific destination or experience, but is rather an approach, ethos, and mindset.
It’s a commitment to embark with intention, embrace the call to adventure, and return with the promise to put your insights into action.– By TTC (Transformational Travel Council)
From to-do-list, it became the to-be-list.
It was now all about Why of travel? It was still luxury travel, and experiential, but now at a deeper level to reach self-actualization and making a meaningful impact on the world they sought to discover and explore.
This brought about a major shift by opening up a travelers mind to new ways of being and evolved consciousness. It created new paradigms by bringing a shift in their thinking, doing and believing.
It gave rise to a new perspective of self, the world and others. A deeper understanding of culture, ecosystems, faith and humanity. He became extremely conscious about the impact his travel makes to the world or the destination he is visiting, it’s local people, communities, and nature.
Transformational travel incorporates in its fold, the fundamentals of sustainable and responsible travel.
We as travellers gain a lot from our journeys as we continue to discover and explore the world, but what do we offer in return?
A: The menace of over-tourism, exploitation of local communities by rampant capitalism in the tourism industry, growing stress on local nature and reserves, negative impact on wildlife and their ecosystems (in some cases irreversible), remodeling local traditions and cultures to suit touristic needs and comforts, leading to an eventual death of authenticity.
COVID-19 is a wake up call (and also many other man-made natural disasters and calamities), which supports the call and rise of Transformational Travel, which is not only life-changing but also responsible and sustainable to the very world we seek to explore.
If we do not mend our ways, then there will not be much left for our future generations to visit, see, explore and discover. At current pace of capitalism and exploitation for global resources in the tourism world, we are on the brink of extinction of cultures, people, traditions and most importantly natural resources, include wildlife.
I promote Luxury travel, but make it experiential for starters and in small doses of adventure, so they get used to it and get out of their comfort zones. Then comes the need and demand from same clients, who have been exposed to experiential travel, to seek transformational travel.
So it’s an evolving process, and cannot be achieved overnight. We need to create a funnel with the ultimate goal of taking people on journeys from which they never return the same and are transformed for good, and at the same time leaving a sustainable positive impact on the people and places they visited.
So it’s a commitment towards the evolution of travel to survive forever, and not just a lifetime.
– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer