Walking tourism is on the rise, but the term is broad and can be anything from a walking tour of a city lasting a few hours to a week-long trek through the wilderness. So what are the benefits for travellers and tourism businesses, and how can businesses make the most of its surge in popularity?
Walking tours have sprung up in cities around the world, giving tourists the opportunity to be shown around by a local. This is great news for both smaller entrepreneurs who are passionate about their local area, as well as for tourists who may otherwise not get to see the smaller details of a place that make it so special.
Multi-day hikes are also gaining significant traction in tourist destinations. This is a brilliant way to showcase the natural beauty of a place, and also meets the growing demand in the tourism space for staying active while away. When paired with community engagement and implemented sustainably, such ecotourism can be a real boost for local economies and the environment.
The UN World Tourism Organisation highlights that walking tourism is becoming more relevant both for tourists and destinations, given the rise in demand for authentic tourist experiences. Fortunately, walking tourism presents a number of benefits to both local communities and tourists alike.
For local communities and businesses, walking tourism can encourage visitors to explore less visited areas and stay longer. This can help to expand the tourism services on offer in established destinations and act as a core attraction in emerging destinations. It can also be a good way to increase visitor numbers during off-peak seasons.
Experiencing an area by foot also allows visitors to become fully immersed in the experience and promotes meaningful interactions between tourists and the local community, culture and nature. This in turn can lead to a more authentic tourist experience, and presents travellers with the opportunity to spend their money in a way that will benefit the local community. Walking tourism requires very little equipment, other than appropriate clothing, and is also an option for most people, regardless of age, gender or fitness.
Some of our favourite walking tourism businesses:
Da Nang Free Walking Tour: https://www.facebook.com/danangfreewalkingtour
Da Nang Free Walking Tour in Vietnam utilises a popular 'free tour' model used in cities throughout the world, whereby travellers tip their guides (who are local university students in this case) based on what they think is fair for the quality of the tour. During the one and a half hour long tour, visitors see Da Nang from a local's perspective and are immersed in local culture, with the opportunity to ask any questions and get recommendations from a local.
Sea Trek Vietnam: https://seatrekvietnam.com/
Sea Trek takes the idea of a walking tour in nature to a new level, offering underwater walking tours in the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, a world Biosphere Reserve recognised by UNESCO. The SeaTrek concept allows visitors to walk along the sea floor after donning a unique breathing apparatus, surrounded by the coral, fish and other sea life in the area.