In an era where travel is at its peak, the idea of
sustainable tourism is unknown to many but is slowly on the rise. Sustainable
tourism and travel is more than a concept, it is a way of life for many and
crucial for the future of our planet. Minimising your environmental impact when
travelling might not be at the forefront of your mind, yet it is something that
should be prioritised once you can grasp an understanding. In this blog post,
we will explain what sustainable tourism means, and how you can do your part to
make the environment a better place, no matter where you go. Take a look at the
Understanding Sustainable Tourism
If you are still unsure as to what sustainable tourism is,
it is quite simple. Sustainable tourists keep the preservation of the
environment at their heart when travelling, whether that be through their mode
of transport or their waste consumption in the area, it covers a wide scope of
factors. Whilst avoiding unethical and sustainable consumption, they also do
their part to leave a positive footprint in the location they visit, whether
that be through supporting local communities or simply shedding light onto any
environmentally damaging practices in the area. Travelling can open up a world
of opportunities to individuals, but it can also do more damage than good to
the country visited should travellers be uneducated. Tourists have the power to
shape the future of the countries they visit, and doing good for the
environment in one area can help the rest of the world to do better.
Choose Green Accommodations
The journey towards sustainability begins with accommodation
choices. Opt for eco-friendly hotels, lodges, or guesthouses that implement
energy-saving practices, waste reduction, and water conservation. Many hostels,
hotels or serviced apartments now proudly display certifications indicating
their commitment to sustainable practices, providing an easy way for travellers
to make responsible choices.
Embrace Eco-Friendly Transportation
How you transport to, within and from your destination of
choice can impact your carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of tourism
contributes to roughly 8% of total global emissions, which is astounding. When
travelling overseas, do your best to find greener flights if flying is the only
option, or interrail on electric trains to significantly cut your carbon
footprint. When you arrive at your location, opt for electric vehicles such as
cars or electric scooters to cut any carbon emissions for short commutes by 100%. Renting a
bike is also a great way to be sustainable whilst engaging in cardiovascular exercise.
Minimising your environmental impact when travelling is simple as long as you
research your transport options.
Respect Cultural Norms
Sustainable tourism goes beyond preserving the environment;
it involves respecting and supporting local communities and their cultures.
Make sure you have carried out thorough research about the place you are
visiting. Respecting their culture and way of life without trying to waver over
their boundaries is a basic necessity that all tourists should abide by.
Support Local Businesses
Avoid dining at global franchises that have made their way
to your destination of choice. Instead, experience the real food culture from
natives of the country, and eat at local small businesses. Also, be sure to
shop for souvenirs with local business owners, and if you need to buy garments,
go for handmade ones and avoid buying from fast fashion retailers to which the
clothes will end up on damaging landfill sites.
Conservation and Responsible Activities
Engaging in responsible activities ensures that your
presence enhances, rather than harms, the natural beauty of a destination.
Responsible activities may include assisting with farming in the local area and
going to tourism sites that only engage in ethical practices. For example, some
elephants in East Asia, unfortunately, engage in abusive practices to keep
their animals entertaining guests. Do your research about the facilities you
visit, and make sure their priority is the wildlife and environment, instead of
Leave No Trace
Whether hiking through pristine landscapes or strolling
through a bustling city, adhere to the principle of "Leave No Trace."
Dispose of any waste responsibly, and do your best to only pack what you need
to avoid leaving waste at the location you visit.
Educate and Inspire
Another great way to engage in sustainable tourism is to
educate and inspire your community to take the same action. Use your social
media channels to document your journey and share what you do to minimise
YouTube's carbon footprint. All these costs are a few moments of your time to
inspire others and share the message with potentially thousands of
Support Sustainable Initiatives
Donate or volunteer for local conservation projects during
your travels. Whether it's participating in a beach cleanup or assisting with
wildlife protection efforts, your involvement can make a meaningful difference.
In conclusion, sustainable tourism is not a restrictive set
of rules but a mindful approach to exploring the world. By making conscious
choices, we can all contribute to the preservation of our planet's beauty and
cultural diversity, ensuring that future generations can also experience the
amazing wonders that travel unveils.