26 August 2012

Slow travel gains favour

One of the defining elements of slow travel is the opportunity to become part of local life and to connect to a place and its people. The stress of modern travel and the economic downturn have made spending time experiencing a destination, as opposed to transiting through it, appealing.

Driving in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Nothern Cape Slow travel, see more, do more

Slow Travel is about taking time to savour your holiday - Rosie Wilkins, AAA Travel

Slow travel is about celebrating the journey, as much as the destination, and enjoying a relaxing holiday rather than dashing from one tourist attraction to the next.

Among travellers globally, there has been a mind-set shift, and a change in travel values. Trends in slow travel show that rather than focusing on multiple destination experiences, slow travellers prefer to investigate and fully explore 1 location by spending time there and absorbing local cultures.

By living at a destination for a few days, as opposed to staying overnight, travellers experience the place more intensely. Slow travel trips can be likened to an immersion process; and one of the pleasures of Slow travel is that holidaymakers set their own pace and choose when they want to have ‘days off’ from their holiday schedule. Slow travel is also not limited to any price bracket or travel demographic. It is the approach to travel, as opposed to the mode, cost, or destination, that matters.
Ample Assistance Travel, has identified a growing demand for this kind of travel among family, mature and repeat holidaymakers to South Africa, and created slow travel itineraries specifically to cater for these markets.

Ample Assistance Travel’s slow travel itineraries differ in that they are typically 10 to 14 days long and groups stay at fewer establishments, for more days. Slow travel trips also concentrate on less-familiar venues and off-the-beaten-track experiences. Activities include ‘slow’ excursions on-foot or by-bike, and offer frequent opportunities to interact with the local communities from the areas visited. Guest can also become involved in voluntourism activities should they desire.

Slow travel doesn’t imply a holiday that’s slow-paced and unexciting. It’s about getting the feel of a place, and wanting to experience an area rather than just visit it. Slow travel is also about exploring regional food and cultural traditions, and living as much like a local as possible.