For many New England families, today is the last day of school before the midwinter school break begins. With snow piling up to crazy heights all around us and weeks of winter still ahead of us, it’s a particularly tempting time to just … get away. You might be leaving your community for warmer weather or a big adventure—but did you know that you are also helping to build community in your travel destination?
Travel and tourism build communities in many ways, but here are three that have the most impact:
Travel supports community economies. If you buy local at home, buy local abroad! Seek out entrepreneurs and independent businesses, and your vacation dollars will do more to build community in the places you visit.
When you spend your tourist dollars at hotels, restaurants, markets and local businesses, you help keep the community economy strong. You also boost the local tax rolls that pay for the schools, hospitals, and infrastructure that make it a good place to live. And the money you spend while traveling has a double impact: tourism creates jobs, and the money workers earn in those jobs is also spent in local businesses.
Travel strengthens community traditions; it lets us gain insight into other cultures and other ways of living. Make a point of truly experiencing the culture of the communities you visit.
In the modern world, it does not always make economic sense to do things in traditional ways. It usually requires more skilled labor, better materials and more time. When we seek out authentic foods, traditions, arts and celebrations on our travels, we make it worthwhile for communities to preserve and pass on their cultural heritage. This strengthens the bond between generations that forges a community’s unique identity.
Travel builds empathy—and empathy builds community.
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