You’ve most likely heard of Sustainable Tourism sometime or the other. Natural resource preservation at some of the major destinations around the globe and the people who visit them are becoming more attuned to the environmental impact of tourism.
While traveling sustainably is becoming ever more popular, many people are still unfamiliar with the concept and just how easy it can really be.
Being sustainable does not mean being uncomfortable!
The very importance of sustainable tourism lies on its three pillars
- The Ecological pillar: e.g. conserving and lowering the impact on the environment the natural environment of the destination
- The economic pillar: support local businesses intending to generate employment and income for the local people
- The social pillar: respect the culture and the people
The tourism industry in all its forms helps boost the economy of a country, which is a great thing. Not only does it generate reasonable foreign exchange but it also incidental in creating job and employment opportunities. Tourism is often responsible for increasing regional development and infrastructure particularly in isolated areas.
Because we are travel nerds over here, we are going to focus on specific ways you can spread the green gospel while traveling. Hopefully, these tips will inspire you to be a more conscious traveller on your next adventure and journeys to come.
Stay longer and reduce carbon emissions:
How we wish we can zip across the world in a more eco-friendly way! Until that happens we have no choice but to fly. Luckily, there are a few ways to cut down on carbon emissions when flying. Consider the length of your trip in relation to the distance you’re travelling. In practice, this means the further you fly, the longer you should stay there. So if you’re considering a trip to the Caribbean then you should stay for at least a fortnight rather than flying there and back in a week. Avoid taking multiple flights within a country. Instead look at train travel or alternative modes of transportation that cause less emissions output.
Ditch the Plastic
Plastic is a problem. Bottles, packing materials, plastic bags. Yeah, it’s not good. Bring A Reusable Water Bottle With You While Traveling: It may seem simple to purchase a bottle of water at the airport, at your hotel, or at the train station. But it is far more lovable to the nature if you have a reusable bottle that you can fill up for free. More and more places are adding in water fill stations, enabling you to get fresh water and also save money! Also don’t forget to carry a reusable bag for your shopping.
Support Local Farmers Markets
Hey foodies, we know you love chomp chomping away on your travels. After all, isn’t eating like 95% of what we travel for? Pretty Much.
So here’s the deal, why don’t you buy groceries from a locally owned market or farmers market or try dining at a farm-to-table restaurants while traveling? Also food tours that highlight local grown produce are a great way to enjoy the local cuisine.
This is my favourite! Shop local!
Chances are you have an Armani or an H&M in your hometown, but still you are completely blown away by the window display and are itching to shop. How about gifting your loved ones something meaningful and small, that are run or made by locals, women and those that promote sustainability? Nothing beats bringing home a gift from a place that no one else has!
Take public transportation as often as possible or get a bike! Enough said.
Last, but not least, stay at environmentally-friendly accommodation.
I know this is a hard one to swallow for the honeymooners or budget conscious couple. You can actually travel affordably abroad through Air B-N-B and still get your privacy. Not to mention some of these homes are GORGEOUS! Or you can do your bit even if you stay at a swanky hotel. Chances are you’ve seen signs at hotels you have stayed in suggesting that you reuse your towels and bed sheets. Conserving electricity and water can make a huge difference even while you are on vacation.
Some of the places that support Sustainable Tourism:
Faroe Islands are truly cinematic. The islands are known not only for their picturesque nature, but also for their sustainable fisheries, unique gastronomy, and preservation of culture. You can explore verdant rolling hills, and dramatic waterfalls throughout the island.
New Zealand has long been at the forefront of sustainable tourism and they have a vision of being the world leader in such efforts by 2025. Considering nature is the most profitable export of New Zealand, it is understandable that the country tries to protect it. The country is an outdoor Mecca for nature and adventure enthusiasts.
The Kingdom of Bhutan operates on a “high value with low impact” model of tourism. With very strict entry requirements, travellers to Bhutan must be with an approved tour operator who will arrange all travel while in the country. All visitors must pay a daily tariff, of apprx $65 as “sustainable tourism” royalty.
Kerela has been honoured for its path-breaking ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the Hospitality industry and government departments. It has the first ever totally sustainable adventure park in the world, the Jatayu Earth Center, which is described as “a masterpiece combination of artistry, mythology, technology, culture, adventure, leisure and wellness put together to give every visitor a spellbinding experience.”
Did you know: Thenmala in Kerala is the first planned ecotourism destination in India created to cater to the Eco-tourists and nature lovers?
Kenya: Over the years, Kenya has developed a number of voluntary programs to support and demonstrate its commitment to sustainable tourism. Many hotels and lodges away from the cities are now investing in alternative energy sources such as Solar power.
Ljubljana, Slovenia: Most people skip over Slovenia when planning a trip to Europe, which is a shame since Ljubljana is not only gorgeous but also one of the most eco-friendly destinations in Europe.
The responsibility to travel the world in a sustainable way lies with us. While there are other things you can do to be sustainable, taking these simple steps can make a huge difference as far as your impact on the planet!
The concept of “being green” has filtered down to all of us in one way or another – but how do we ensure it doesn’t become another Instagram trend?
It’s time we all engage seriously with the issue of sustainable travel.