Today, the travel industry is abuzz with discussions about immersive travel. Modern travelers are seeking more than just a souvenir t-shirt; they crave experiences that leave them enriched with distinctive memories to carry home.
After the hardship experienced with COVID-19, people are seizing every opportunity to make the most of their trips, and the solution to this quest lies in the realm of slow tourism.
What exactly is Immersive Travel?
Travelling to new locations is always exciting, but can you get more from your travel experiences? Sure, you want to hit the bucket list landmarks, but what about experiencing the location like the people that live there?
You may be wondering: what does immersive travel entail? Well, this emerging trend in travel pertains to an experience that enables full engagement with a destination and its culture, offering a learning opportunity beyond the usual vacation.
It goes beyond mere sightseeing, focusing on understanding the local culture, connecting with its people, and immersing oneself in the daily life as if one lived there. Various trends in immersive travel include:
- Cultural Immersion: This trend is on the rise, with travelers emphasizing experiences related to local traditions. It could involve attending festivals, engaging in cultural activities, or any aspect of local life that deepens the traveler’s understanding and appreciation for the destination.
- Culinary Immersion: Recognizing that food is integral to a destination’s culture and history, culinary immersion allows travelers to savor local cuisine, learn cooking techniques, and explore local markets.
- Adventure Immersion: This type of travel involves exploring the natural surroundings of the destination and participating in outdoor activities typical of the area, such as hiking, skiing, swimming, or wildlife observation.
- Artistic Immersion: Focused on fully experiencing the local art scene, this form of immersive travel includes attending performances, visiting galleries, or participating in local art classes to connect with artists and appreciate artistic expression.
- Spiritual Immersion: Travelers can deeply connect with their spirituality and experience local religions and practices, often through yoga retreats, meditation, or attending ceremonies at temples and churches.
Why Slow Tourism is becoming more relevant
In recent years, immersive travel, also known as slow tourism, has been on the rise due to travelers’ desire for more meaningful and authentic experiences aligned with their values.
The events of 2020 heightened people’s awareness of life’s unpredictability, emphasizing the importance of making the most of time and resources.
Immersive travel aligns with the growing interest in sustainable travel, allowing travelers to connect with nature and support local communities responsibly.
Benefits of Immersive Travel
We travel to discover new things — about ourselves and about the world around us. Immersive travel allows us to dive headfirst into the experiences that allow us to do just that, and so much more.
While some travel styles involve dipping a toe in the pool of a new culture, immersive travel means just what it sounds like — being completely surrounded with the newness of an unfamiliar place.
The immersive traveler comes in contact with unfamiliar sights, sounds, sensations, flavors, and challenges that are unlike anything they’ve known before. Here are just 4 of the many benefits the experience can bring:
1. Personal Growth:
We feel safe when we’re surrounded by the familiar. We don’t have to think much about our day-to-day lives when they are routine. When we abandon those familiar aspects of our daily lives, we quickly realize how much we take for granted. It’s not easy to order food when you don’t know what it’s called or how to say it. But the food will taste even better when we overcome that obstacle. By leaving our comfort zone, we learn and we grow.
2. Cultural Exchange:
It fosters a sense of cultural exchange and understanding, leading to a deeper appreciation of local customs, traditions, and ways of life.
Immersive travel is a more sustainable option, promoting environmental awareness and responsible travel practices.
4. Economic Benefits:
It benefits local communities economically, as travelers, in their pursuit of an authentic experience, support local businesses and artisans.
5. Help to preserve the local culture:
When we learn about the details that make these cultures unique, we spread cultural understanding. Returning home to regale your friends with stories of a traditional dinner you helped prepare with a family in India will be so much more rewarding than that photo of a sunset.
6 Go Together DMC PRO tips for traveling deeper
1. Take public transport:
Throw yourself into the thick of the chaos and opt to ride the bus or train. Surrounded by locals and often street vendors, you’ll get the lay of the land quickest by navigating public transit. This little adjustment in how you get around pops you out of the protected tourist bubble of taxis and shows you what it’s like to really live in the city.
2. Eat street food and dine in small local restaurants:
You learn a lot about a culture by eating its cuisine, sharing a meal that someone lovingly cooked following a family recipe honed through years of experience. Small family-run establishments and street food vendors put tender loving care into crafting a handful of dishes. Far better than the impersonal and elaborate revolving menus that have become popularized by modern restaurants and resorts.
3. Learn the local language:
For destinations where you expect a language barrier, like Brazil, try to brush up on your portuguese. The better you can communicate in the local dialect the easier it will be to chat with people who live there. Showing an effort to learn the language shows a deeper appreciation and respect for the community you’re visiting, or if nothing else makes for a humorous icebreaker.
4. Focus on making connections rather than follow a bucketlist:
Often while gazing out the airplane window we’re daydreaming about all the sights we’ll see and experiences we’ll have upon landing. But what if we focused on the connections and friendships we’ll make instead? Immersive travel is all about people. It’s about getting to know a country from the perspective of a local and that means interacting with them, as organically and authentically as possible.
5. Visit local markets:
Whether it’s daytime fruit markets awash with vibrant colors or nighttime markets surrounded by the intoxicating smells of street food, markets offer a variety of experiences. All of which will give you more insight into the life of locals.
6. Take the time to research local customs and traditions:
The best way to connect with local communities (& with a destination) is to embrace their traditions and respect the cultural norms. It’s a sign of respect and will earn you some respect in return. Know what to wear in temples or on the beach ahead of time and avoid offending the local people you are trying to connect positively.
Immersive experiences in Brazil: a country for every traveler
Brazil is a country of contrasts and contradictions. Crowded urban centers give way to massive soy and cattle farms, while traditional communities live simply in the world’s most biodiverse reserve on the earth.
It’s vibrant and captivating – every traveler’s dream destination – yet Brazil faces many social and environmental challenges invisible to the average traveler.
An immersive learning journey to Brazil offers a chance to truly experience the pulse of Brazil. While it brings travelers to destinations not indicated on regular tourist maps, it also teaches them about the state of the cities, food systems, biodiversity, inequalities and politics.
Engage with grassroots level social action in urban hubs and witness vast field of grazing cattle and the struggles associated with it. Grapple with issues of population density and transport system failures and stand in awe of nature in its most pristine form, far removed from the human sprawl.
Talk with our incentive travel specialists today and award your team an experience in Brazil like never before.