Say hi to Slowby
Our goal to make slow travel more accessible. Step by step, we want to make it easier to plan and prepare a slow travel so that more people can be close to nature and discover new places.
We have big ambitions for the further growth of the slow travel movement. Where Covid-19 forced us to rethink the way we live, work and travel, it inspired many of us to enjoy the beauty of a bicycle ride or hike nearby. Yet, making the move to slow and sustainable travels isn’t a piece of cake. It currently takes long evenings and many websites to plan a trip. This is why Slowby comes to life: we have the goal to make it easier to plan and prepare a slow travel.
The launch of Slowby took place in March 2022. Don’t forget to sign up on slowby.travel to receive updates! Here’s what we have learnt from slow travellers in the last few months and why we can’t wait to make more people get started with slow travel.
Over the last two years, we have undertaken several initiatives to facilitate and promote slow travels. Back in 2020, it started out with the launch of Welcome To My Garden (WTMG), a network of citizens offering an overnight spot in their garden to slow travellers. With a small but dedicated team of volunteers, we poured a lot of energy and time into the development of the platform. With currently 23.000+ users and 3.450 gardens across different European countries, we’re very proud that it seriously contributed to the rise of the slow travel movement. Yet, we noticed that we only solved part of the problem with WTMG. There’s more to be done to make it easy for more people to start slow travelling.
Where the WTMG platform makes it possible for seasoned slow travellers to find an overnight garden stay along their way, we learnt - from both our own experience and feedback received from other travellers - that planning a slow travel isn't a piece of cake. It takes long evenings and many websites to bring it all together (itinerary, place for the night, equipment, combination train-bicycle & points of interest). Now the great news: by organizing our Slow Travel Mini Fest with almost 200 participants and planning slow travel trips for 41 testers, we figured out how we can make it easier to leave on a trip. This is how we started helping beginners plan their slow travel.
Having already spent a substantial part of our life planning and preparing slow travels, for shorter as well as longer trips such as our 13.500 km bike tour from Brussels to Tokyo, we perfectly know what it’s like to create a slow travel trip. As the lack of time or know-how to plan a trip shouldn’t hold someone back from leaving on a slow travel, we aim to make it easy and exciting to plan and prepare a slow travel trip. By combining our slow travel experience, the support of our WTMG ambassadors and the power of open data, we're starting off with Secret Slow Travel Trips.
Over the next few months, we’ll be taking steps to make it easier to plan and prepare a slow travel so that more people can be close to nature and discover new places. As we want our success to be directly linked to the value created for travellers, we’ll be building this one step at a time. We’re starting off with a tool for those who are new to slow travel, and we’ll be growing with them. Slowby’s story takes off in Belgium with the clear intention to launch in more countries soon!
We strongly believe that slow travel is a strong force for change. While it allows us to connect with ourselves and everything around us, it also enables new opportunities to create positive socio-environmental links between urban and rural areas, support locally-run businesses and communities, and reduce our carbon footprint.
The long-term impact that we envision with Slowby:
- 1.The underlying problem: Lack of time and connection. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. There’s a growing divide between urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Our intended impact: Slow travels create positive socio-environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas, and create social interactions where mutual respect and open dialogue come first.
- 2.The underlying problem: Centralization of tourism development. Fast travels make travellers go to destinations which have a high concentration of tourism services (e.g.: accommodation, restaurants and transportation). Due to this centralization, 80% of travellers go to 20% of the places which don’t benefit the local economy and its communities. Our intended impact: Slow travels allow travellers to explore new regions, and contribute to the development of locally-owned businesses and communities.
- 3.The underlying problem: negative carbon footprint. Tourism currently represents 5% of human-made CO2 emissions, mostly due to the use of cars and planes, which are used by fast travellers. Our intended impact: Slow travels enable opportunities for reducing our carbon footprint and making a positive impact on what's surrounding us.
Strongly inspired by the Code Social Enterprises, Slowby will be registered as a social enterprise with its social mission at the core of its business activities. More about this in a next blog post!