Are you a traveler wanting tips about how you can travel more sustainably? Do you think the global tourism industry can do more when it comes to helping sustainable travel grow? In this article, we will discuss why it is important and ways to be a sustainable tourist.
Global tourism can be more sustainable if tourists make it a priority to travel in a sustainable way and use eco-friendly transport, buy locally and treat the environment with respect. The tourism industry can also continue to make more sustainable options available and convenient for tourists.
It is so important that global tourism becomes more sustainable and eco-friendly. Everyone needs to know why it is important and what they can do in order to make a positive difference. Read on to learn all you need to know about creating a more sustainable global tourism industry.
Increasing Sustainability In Global Tourism
Making global tourism more sustainable means that, as tourists, we minimize the damage that we have to the community and to the environment that we are traveling to. We have to have respect for the land, the people, and the culture. We don’t only think about ourselves and what we want to do, but we want to benefit the people and land we are around.
Why Sustainable Tourism Is Important
It is important that the global tourism industry becomes more sustainable for many reasons. Here are three main reasons why we need to travel sustainably on a global scale.
1. For The Benefit Of Future Generations
If we travel sustainably today and look after the land, nature, and local communities, our children and future generations will be able to travel and explore different cities and countries just like us. As we gain many positive experiences from traveling, we also want the same opportunity to be available for those who come after us.
Therefore, what is required of us, is to reduce emissions by using more eco-friendly transport, buy things locally to support the local artisans, growers, and the community, and listen and tend to the earth’s needs. We are in a co-creation with the earth and we must preserve it and let it thrive well into the future.
2. If We Look After The Environment, It Will Look After Us
As humans, we cannot thrive on the earth if we don’t have trees that offer us air to breathe, food to eat, and shelter from the elements. If we behave in a way where we disregard the importance of nature and affect its wellbeing negatively, we ultimately harm ourselves, as we are one with nature.
We all thrive and benefit by being in harmony with nature through sustainable tourism. If we cause disease and disharmony within this system, humans will pay the price. No matter how advanced we think we are, we will always need nature and community.
3. Support The Local Community
When we travel and spend money at local businesses, we can offer economic support to communities and thus reduce poverty, especially if we are not traveling to a rich location. Whether we buy an object hand-crafted by a local, eat fresh vegetables from a local farmer, or hire a local tour guide during our travels, it is greatly appreciated as many of these communities’ livelihoods come from tourists spending money on their offerings.
When we aid the local communities in this way instead of buying and using worldwide multimillion-dollar companies for our products and services, we make a positive impact on where we travel and bring balance to society. We see the value in what these individuals create and do.
Understanding why it is important to be sustainable travelers, we can then make more beneficial decisions for the good of all.
When we are aware of the damage that we can make when traveling in an unsustainable way, we are purposely ignoring the long-lasting impact we are making on both humanity, the environment, and the luxury of being able to travel the world.
Ways We Can Make Tourism More Sustainable
As we travel around the world to different cities and countries, we need to take responsibility for our actions and the effects of our actions. Here are some ways you can travel more sustainability during your trips.
Enjoy Nature And Eco-Friendly Activities
When traveling, you have access to so many beautiful environments. You can visit stunning waterfalls, hike trails, swim in the ocean, visit national parks, go snorkeling and so much more. There is so much joy and pleasure to be found in the natural world.
As you spend time in nature, ensure you respect and honor the environment. Don’t leave rubbish, stay on designated trails, and don’t take things from natural sites. If you see rubbish lying around, don’t leave it, bin it.
Think About What Products And Services You Use
If there is a sustainable and eco-friendly product you can use, then ensure you use it. When traveling, using zero-waste items, such as reusable cups, bottles, containers, cutlery, and bags can make a huge difference.
If you do have waste, try to recycle it or compost it if you can do so. Stay away from single-use items that you may come across in hotels or motels, such as small shampoo or body wash bottles, slippers, and snacks.
When choosing accommodation to stay at, pick locations like an eco-friendly hotel or motel, go camping or glamping, or find an eco-friendly Airbnb to stay at. This will lower your carbon footprint. If you are staying in a hotel, let them know that you do not need new towels every day, and you can turn off the air conditioning while you are out.
Be mindful of tourist activities such as animal shows, as they may not have the animal’s best interest at heart. Consider the welfare of the animals and the ethics of any activity or attraction that you take part in. You may find some places to donate a part of your fee to support local conservation or something similar.
There are tour companies that now have many carbon-neutral tours available. For example, Intrepid Travel has over 1000 carbon-neutral group tours by working with locals, and they donate money to carbon offset programs. There are also walking or cycling tours that you can find.
You do not have to go on a tour that involves releasing a lot of emissions into the environment. It’s all about researching and educating yourself; you will be surprised at what sustainable options are out there.
Respect The Locals And The Culture
You can respect the locals and the culture of the places you travel to by behaving respectably, honoring the local customs, and dressing appropriately. If you want to take a photo of someone, then first get permission to do so. Learn some basic language before going to the country and buying from the local markets.
Listen to the history or tales that you get told and want to understand the people you are surrounded by. They may offer you great wisdom and insight. If you know you are in a location where water is scarce, ensure you take quick showers, don’t leave the water running, and ultimately treat it like it is a privilege to use and you are grateful for it.
When traveling around cities and countries, you want to consider what types of transport you are using and how you can reduce any negative impacts from emissions that come from these modes of transport.
If you can walk around a city, do it! Otherwise, use an e-scooter or take the subway. If you are renting a car, try to get an electric car to reduce the emissions that are going into the environment.
Tourist’s Thoughts On Sustainable Travel
According to a Summer 2022 Travel Survey, many people do believe that global sustainable travel is important. As this is a global issue, it is important that we all do our part and actually care about it.
|How Important Is Sustainable Travel To You?|
|Not at all important||12.68%|
The survey above shows that the majority of people, 53.10%, thought that sustainable travel is somewhat important, while only 34.22% said it was very important. We can see that there is a gap between people taking the issue seriously.
We can understand why this is by looking at the results of another survey asking if they intended to make more sustainable decisions when planning travel.
|Do You Intend To Make More Sustainable Decisions When Planning Travel?|
|Yes, regardless of if it inconveniences me||29.84%|
|Yes, but only if it does not inconvenience me||51.73%|
Looking at the results of this survey and comparing them to the one above, we can conclude that the majority of tourists do believe that sustainable travel is important, but they are not willing to be inconvenienced by it. They want other people to be sustainable tourists, but they are not willing to make sustainable choices if it is not easy to do so.
We can see that there is still discord between the importance of the environment and our human desire to have things be quick, instant, easy, and convenient regardless of the consequences to our Mother Earth.
The good news is that it was the youngest generation aged 18-29, that were more likely to make sustainable decisions. This can give us hope that the younger generation is taking sustainable travel seriously and will be able to create a more eco-friendly travel style than the older generations.
Let’s hope the older generations don’t cause too much damage in the meantime.
Let’s explore some sustainable-focused businesses and organizations around the world that are in the tourism industry.
- Nikoi in Indonesia
- Camp Glenorchy in New Zealand
- The Gladstone Hotel in Canada
- Feynan Hotel in Japan
- One Seed Expeditions
- Jumbari Safaris
- Hillside Festival in Canada
- Calgary Folk Music Festival in Canada
Food And Restaurant
- Restaurant Nolla
- Big Wheel Burger
- Nada Grocery
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Squaw Valley
- Park City Mountain Resort
- World Animal Protection
By seeing this list, you can be assured there are many eco-friendly and sustainable businesses out there that are doing their part to make a positive impact on the environment, local communities, and travelers. More people and businesses are making shifts and changes as they think about the long-term impact they can have on the tourism industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Travel More Sustainable Around Europe?
Traveling by train is the most sustainable option to explore Europe, and it is also easy and fast to do. There is 29 times less carbon dioxide coming from a high-speed electric train than from taking the same journey on a plane.
What Are The 3 Main Areas Of Sustainable Tourism?
The main areas of sustainable tourism are economic development, environmental integrity, and social justice.
Who Promotes Sustainable Tourism?
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) supports and promotes global sustainable tourism. They support policies and practices that respect the culture of communities, make optimal use of environmental resources and provide economic benefit for all.
Global tourism can be much more sustainable when tourists choose to be eco-friendly, like traveling by trains rather than planes or supporting local businesses. Tour and transport companies are also starting to incorporate low to zero-emission options for visiting tourists, which is a good start.
We hope this article gave you the push to start your sustainable journey!
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