Never has a year impacted travel quite like 2020. So when the team at Lonely Planet sat down, topped up the coffee, pulled out the maps and started brainstorming their annual best in travel feature for the year ahead, something clearly felt awry.
Embrace sustainable, diverse and community based travel and make the world a better place. getty
How could it be responsible to plunge in and recommend places based on their allure, on their uniqueness, or encourage people to travel willy nilly despite the lessons of the last 12 months – and the huge impact a world not travelling has had upon the environment (positive) and the people and places that rely on tourism to survive (not so positive).
Shying away from the bucket list mentality, Lonely Planet CEO Luis Cabrera puts it nicely: “As our world came to a full stop this year, we looked in the mirror to reflect on how we can best empower our readers to travel responsibly and become agents of positive change. And we realized that to reimagine travel post-2020, we needed to reinvent ourselves first, so we updated our editorial practices to highlight more local and diverse voices.”
This year then, a list with a twist. A shift in focus away from the towns, places and countries that usually adorn it and instead a focus on sustainability, community and diversity. “Travel in 2021 and beyond will be a much more considerate exercise than it has been ever before,” continues Cabrera. “With travelers cautiously re-engaging with the world and focusing on ensuring their impact is safe and positive for host communities, we have decided to highlight destinations and individuals that truly enable visitors to make genuine contributions through regenerative travel.”