CHRISTIANE VARGA: 5 musings on more conscious tourism

Christiane Varga

Where are we going with travel? Are hotels and travellers veering off traditional (conscious) paths and turning toward more sustainable options? Future researcher, lecturer and sociologist Christiane Varga has been giving it some thought.

The hyperlocal

The differentiation between tourist and local, between residential and holiday locations, between home and away, between leisure and work is becoming increasingly irrelevant. People are immersing themselves deeper in a destination, going where the locals go, to restaurants, cafés, clubs, markets – even staying in their homes while couch surfing. It will no longer be so easy to recognise people as tourists.

Slow travel 

This counterpoint to selfie tourism is gaining ground. Racing to a hyped location to get the perfect photo and as many likes as possible? Not so much these days. Instead, holiday destinations located off the beaten path are being discovered, and simple and local adventures are being sought out in order to find authentic encounters.

The unknown

How do I react to a foreign (travel) environment, how quickly can I adapt? That’s also part of travelling. It is therefore a reference to the future, and how we will deal with it – at the end of the day, the future itself is always an unknown. We never know what will happen in the next moment. When travelling, we train ourselves how to handle the unknown.


Sustainability is considered to be more of an attitude, no longer just a concept. It involves smart handling of ecological and social resources, meaning the environment that the destination is linked to. Ultimately, it’s a critical part of what’s on offer. Respectful, empathetic interaction with hotel staff, including fair payment, is also a key element.


The future is getting more and more complex, silo thinking and silo acting are things of the past. Partnerships within the hotel and travel industry are becoming increasingly important. Hotels are also incorporating the social environment and collaborating with people from the region. That provides platforms within the industry to show new things and share ideas.

Photocredits: Christiane Varga, Julian Mullan, Timo Stern