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Visit with a polar bear. Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Debra Lynn Hartsell photo.

Visit with a polar bear. Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Debra Lynn Hartsell photo.

by Vanessa Desorcy

September 27 is World Tourism Day, an international day of recognition first established by the United Nations in 1970.

The UN’s days, weeks, years, and even decades are established to create awareness for global issues, encourage change, and recognize achievements.

This year, observance of World Tourism Day marks a need to reflect on the importance of tourism as an industry and the effects of COVID-19 on it, and an opportunity to create a more sustainable model going forward.

According to a brief put together by the United Nations, within the first half of 2020, $320 billion in tourism exports had been lost due to the pandemic. The UN also projects that there will be a 58% – 78% decline in tourist numbers worldwide, which translates to 100 million jobs at risk.

On the one hand, the reduction in travel has provided relief for our planet from the high levels of carbon emissions, but that’s bound to change. There will come a day when we all start travelling again.

It’s unrealistic to think that the solution is to stay put and ignore our wanderlust. Travel is enriching and rewarding; it’s a way to learn, grown and connect. When you consider that a drop in tourism poses threats not only to the global economy, but to social and cultural heritage, and to conservation efforts, it becomes clear that a return to travel is necessary. We just need to be more responsible about it.

As noted in the brief, “…this crisis is an opportunity for the [tourism] sector to transform and become more resilient, inclusive and sustainable.”

It’s going to take a coordinated effort between government, citizens, private businesses, and NGOs to drive this transformation, as outlined in the UN General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Here at Churchill Wild, we do our best to bring sustainable practices into all areas of our operations. We do it for the wildlife, for the planet, and for our families. We want to be able to share the Hudson Bay tundra and taiga with visitors for generations to come, and so we work hard to protect it.

Tourism is in our blood and we’ve created countless memories during our 25 plus years operating polar bear ecolodges. Below is just a very small sampling of photos that encapsulate those memories, as captured by our guests. We’ve also posted more on the Churchill Wild Instagram page.

Travel far and travel wide, friends, as soon as you safe feel doing so.

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Please note: Our staff will be away from the office for a team building retreat May 23 - May 25, 2024.