A recent social media and online campaign www.exploremyregion.com, initiated by Bavaria-based Outdooractive, Europe’s largest outdoor portal for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and skiing, has received a timely boost, just weeks after launching.
Some of the latest tourism surveys and figures, in Europe and the US have suggested a healthy increase in the number of travelers keen to holiday at home this year.
According to a recent Euronews poll conducted in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, approximately 60% of German and Spanish respondents said they were not planning to holiday abroad this year, while more than half of those surveyed in Italy and France, had not made any travel plans at all and 33% of all those surveyed were planning to holiday within their own country.
Supporting those results, the latest quarterly report from the European Travel Commission, confirmed that the likelihood of a quick and sustainable recovery would be more prevalent in destinations that attracted mostly domestic and short haul travelers.
The report went on to highlight the issues that longer-haul tourists are now faced with including relatively higher costs of travel and insurance, in-flight and border restrictions, as well as a heightened risk aversion, especially to the prospect of a second wave outbreak and the ensuing quarantine measures.
As part of the www.exploremyregion.com campaign, over 100 tourism companies and destinations from across Europe, the USA and beyond, joined hands to raise awareness of the tourism offerings within their respective towns and regions in a bid to attract local visitors and offset the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Hartmut Wimmer, the Founder, and CEO of Outdooractive, which connects tourism stakeholders with a global outdoor community of over 9.1 million enthusiasts, said:
“Outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and cycling have become increasingly popular during the current-COVID era and the recent online campaign showcased outdoor activity providers, hotels, restaurants, and retailers. Outdoor spaces have more room to accommodate social distancing without too much constraint, which has led to more than 70% of nature camps, hiking trails, adventure sports, national parks and beaches reopening around the world.”
Millions throughout Europe were in lockdown earlier this year and many parents are still working from home, as well as children engaged in distanced learning. For many a lack of exercise, has resulted in weight gain, ironically making them more susceptible to catching the coronavirus.
“This is where local or regional outdoor holidays tick all of the right boxes. In the countryside it is also easier to socially distance, breathe cleaner air, exercise through cycling or hiking, eat fresh, and often healthier, local food and at the same time, support the local economy,” added Wimmer.
Destinations such as Destin Royan Atlantique in France www.royanatlantique.fr Puumala in Finland www.visitpuumala.fi and Salt Lake City in Utah, USA www.visitsaltlake.com supported the campaign, which highlighted not only the variety but the global reach of the campaign, which also contributed to a spike in social media engagement.
“As a travel and outdoor sports enthusiast, I immediately got hooked on the idea of joining the #ExploreMyRegion movement. Our sports traveler members love to discover new spots close to home. When you see the local sporting potential just a few hours away from home, it is worth exploring it. With #ExploreMyRegion, I discovered new playgrounds that I have shared and enjoyed with my family and the outdoor community,” said Sylvain Morel, co-founder & COO of Sportihome.com.
Several global brands also got behind the campaign with Intersport, Wanderfit, and Scarpa, amongst others, helping locals understand exactly what they have available right on their doorstep while showcasing new destinations to potential visitors nearby.
“It’s great that the #ExploreMyRegion movement is committed to the regional tourism industry. We are happy to support the campaign with our initiative Wanderfit. Especially the silent protagonists, whether shopkeepers, restaurateurs or artisans, make the day trip or short trip a very special experience with their cordiality and local knowledge. This is why now is exactly the right time to explore the region on your own doorstep – for example on a hike through the Palatinate (a region in southwestern Germany),” said Andreas Lenz, chairman of the board of BKK Pfalz.