Mountain Travel Sobek (US)
Mountain Travel Sobek (US)

MT Sobek Pathfinder—May 2020 Edition

Email sent: May 21, 2020 4:59pm

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What’s next for sustainability? 
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MT Sobek Pathfinder
May, 2020 Edition

“May you live in interesting times” is an old saying, and it’s hard to think of more “interesting” times than where we find ourselves at this current juncture. As countries around the world begin to ponder what the new normal will look like as COVID-19 eventually subsides and leisure travel gradually resumes, we’re faced with the monumental question of how we can best practice sustainability in this new world.

The health of travelers, locals, and guides will always be the top priority. In some cases, the need for increased sanitation will improve both guest experience and working conditions of guides and service providers. Guests can expect smaller groups, more space along the trails, and a greater emphasis on hygiene than ever before. Many guides and national park staff are already seeing an increase in private or semi-private accommodations with fewer shared bathrooms.

Our river rafting expeditions have been a valuable resource as we look to ensure health and sanitation across all of our trips. For years, our rafts and gear required careful cleaning before and after entering waterways to avoid inadvertently transporting potentially invasive species. Proper cleaning has long been an integral part of how our river crews operate our trips. We are able to implement their best practices across our other trips, whether looking at how we clean transport vans or get kayaks ready to launch.

The threat of over-tourism, especially for popular attractions such as Machu Picchu or the Great Wall, has greatly reduced for the time being. Since it will likely be some time before crowds return, we have a unique opportunity to implement changes now to help preserve these special places for generations to come. Already there is talk of imposing daily limits on the total number of visitors and promoting less well-known monuments, an effort to help preserve areas for future visitors to enjoy.

As has always been the case, sustainability is the long game, and what we choose to do today impacts our future. Adventure travelers have long been drawn into nature, off the beaten path. Fueled by their innate curiosity and desire to experience all the wide world has to offer, they are today’s best champions for both health and sustainability. To quote another old saying, necessity is the mother of invention. Here’s hoping that our “new normal” makes health and sustainability part and parcel of travel.
 

How do you envision the future?
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Pathfinder is MT Sobek’s monthly editorial on adventure travel topics with global implications. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to receive the next issue!
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