Over recent decades the travel and tourism sector has undergone major transformations especially when it comes to experiential way of living travel. There are many reasons for this including; the increase in disposable incomes, the changing nature of air travel, globalisation in general, and of, course the internet. The internet made it possible for regular people to organise their own trips and holidays which provided great challenges for travel agencies. Travel agencies, just like yours, had to adapt to the new normal to survive. But now, travel and tourism in undergoing another transformation and travel agencies should be prepared for this. The rise of experiential tourism took many by surprise but it is now undeniable that it is a new, popular, continually growing trend and every travel agency should consider offering experiential tours. Just like the internet provided challenges as well as opportunities – just think of Airbnb or Booking.com for example – so too will the advent of experiential tourism offer challenges, but also opportunities. One thing we know for certain, is that relational well-being is big driver of the trend in experiential tourism.
What is relational well-being?
First of all let’s discuss “well-being” in general. Well-being is how well you feel with regard to yourself, or how you feel about yourself. There are different types of well-being. There is financial well-being – do you have enough money? Then there is emotional well-being – are you getting and giving enough love? There is also the more obvious physical well-being – how healthy are you? Physical well-being means being free from sickness and disease, but also getting enough exercise. There are other areas of well-being that affect people, like professional well-being. This entails job satisfaction. For people to feel good about themselves each one of these areas of well-being has to be looked after and in balance. People are responsible for doing that themselves. For example, in terms of physical well-being, it is up to each of us to exercise, eat healthily, and avoid bad habits like smoking.
But what exactly is relational well-being?
Relational well-being is about the condition and standard of your relationships in your life.
For example, do you spend enough time socialising? Do you stay in contact with friends? If you have children, do you spend as much time as you would like to with them, or do things like work get in the way? And the thing is, that each area of well-being influences your overall well-being. If you neglect one area of well-being, others suffer too – because they are all connected within each individual person. Therefore relational well-being is also a key factor for personal health.
Having said all of that, now you must understand the impact of a relational well-being approach within the experiential tourism sector.
Relational well-being in our modern world
As mentioned in the first paragraph we live in a globalised world. But the internet is one of the major elements of this globalised world which also made it possible. And while we can now be online 24/7, and can stay in contact or connect with people all over the world, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we do, and the nature of these connections is also completely different than human existence pre-internet. We have become “screen people” and our interactions with people and our relationships are no longer what they once were. Perhaps we believe we have good relationships, but these are filtered through screens, laptops, smartphones and so on, and are therefore insufficient to satisfy us humans, who, after all, are social creatures. We need contact with other people, but real contact, and that is what we are hungry for these days. A lack of relational well-being can lead to depression, affect physical health, and can impact negatively in other areas of our lives. This is why relational well-being is a key factor with regard to experiential based tourism. One could argue that a relational based approach is actually intrinsic to experiential based tourism – and that’s a core principle of ours at Artès.
Artès: relational based approach to experiential tourism connecting people to people and places
We create stories people can live and actively participate in. This brings them into close contact with the region, and historical time period, they are visiting. This method does a lot to undo the disconnect caused by our modern, screen orientated world. That is just one point however. What is really the main element of our approach is that at Artès we involve people from the locality and help them to become and develop as operators in experiential tourism. As a result, people who go on our experiential tours connect with people from the local area, and get an in-depth, and intimate view of the local culture and region. They are “forced” to connect with people and place. But this is what many people in our often faceless society are looking for, and are in need of. Artès experiential tourism is based on fostering close relationships with like minded people actively participating in living stories, and that is why it is beneficial in terms of relational well-being. As a travel agent, you should come by our site and browse all the experiential tours and stories to live togheter in our listings, and when you offer them to your clients, not only will you be selling them interesting holiday packages, but also helping humanity get back to its roots of strong, healthy relationships.