Launched in 2017, Travel to Tomorrow is a story of, for and by the sector, with Visit Flanders in a facilitating role. Through a large listening survey, magazine, learning network, living labs, summit, book – and above all by daring to experiment and working cocreatively with an open mind – our vision has materialised.
With people from inside and outside the tourism industry, in 2017 we kicked off a new project in search of the positive power of tourism. We listened to countless personal stories about special travel experiences and what residents of Flemish art cities thought about their home towns, visitors – whether too many or just enough – and the importance of tourism to their own environment and quality of life. From this flowed an insight that was fundamental to our learning process: tourism is not an end in itself, but a means for communities to thrive.
➔ Read the full report
In 2018, we published a synthesis of our research on the power of tourism in our Travel to Tomorrow magazine. What began as a broader and deeper reflection on the “soul of a place” before linking various aspects of sustainability to it, emerged as a new vision for the future of tourism. The findings on the importance of balance for people and places profoundly changed our view of our mission.
➔ Download the magazine
Events and encounters
Events and meetings also played an important role in the creation of the Travel to Tomorrow vision. After a successful summit, various inspiration and reflection sessions, a learning network and living labs, among other events, we continue to focus on activities and sharing knowledge and experience.
➔ Travel to Tomorrow activities
For an organisation like Visit Flanders, envisaging the future doesn’t start with a blank slate, but with a change of attitude. Our future image of the tourism sector was created from a “not-knowing” attitude and is based on an in-depth co-creative process involving dozens of participants, both public and private, Flemish and international, over a year and a half. Our recommendations for the 2019-2024 tourism policy were summarised in the “Travel to Tomorrow” memorandum. For the upcoming policy period as well, we have begun work on drafting a new memorandum in consultation with the sector.
Back in 2020 we said “Travel to Tomorrow, more than sustainable tourism, is a story with a common purpose that benefits everyone”. The Covid crisis accelerated this process and forced the sector to innovate even more. The Travel to Tomorrow book outlines the theory of the transformative power of tourism and how visitors, residents and entrepreneurs can put the ideas into practice.
➔ Order the book
Mission, vision and network
After a series of interviews and workshops with various industry stakeholders, in 2021 and 2022 we drafted the goals, vision, mission, charter and composition of the core group of the Travel to Tomorrow network.
➔ To the vision
Current Travel to Tomorrow initiatives
Within our six core themes, we continue to focus on storylines that will be developed Flanders-wide. Here, the “soul of the place,” people (meaningful encounters) and activities (as an integral part of the destination experience) are central.
Through pilot projects, Visit Flanders itself invested directly in various locations. In doing so, we seek to create leverage for our six core themes and enable both experimentation and inspiration.
Want to learn more about Travel to Tomorrow, engage with people in the tourism industry, or share your own experiences? You can also join the Travel to Tomorrow community on Facebook.