Sustainable Travel is a concept that I ran into earlier this week. After a google search – What is Sustainable Travel? – I was able to quench my curiosities.
Sustainable Travel is simply finding a way that tourism can be maintained long-term without having detrimental effects on natural and cultural environments.
There are also other terms such as responsible travel and eco travel, but essentially they all have the same goal.
A growing number of blogs and newspaper articles are covering the topic – most notably, the New York Times just published Where Sustainable Travel is Headed in 2017.
There were nearly 1.2 billion international travelers in 2015, up from 674 million in 2000, according to the United Nations. The latest figure represents nearly one out of seven people in the world and is expected to grow to 1.8 billion people by 2030.
Travel bloggers, vloggers, and instagrammers are on the rise. Combining travel and work is now an ultimate goal for many. I unashamedly follow several travelers on Youtube and Instagram to witness their documented adventures. However, I can’t help but think how much damage their weekly travel across countries is having on the environment.
A good place to start is by limiting your air travel. Find nearby places to explore or pursue excursions that can be made by foot or on bicycle. If you choose to travel by air, be intentional with your actions. Make sure to support the local businesses, rather than the big corporations or exclusive tourist shops; and find alternatives to using cars to explore.
If traveling sustainably seems a little ambitious on your own, then you’re in luck! Eco-Friendly Tours are a thing!
- Intrepid Travel: More than 1,000 tours that are carbon neutral. Check them out!
- Butterfield & Robinson: Walking and biking tours available.
- Abercrombie & Kent
Ecotravellerguide.com highlights some tips for green travel:
- reading up on local culture and history
- choosing tour and lodging companies with responsible tourism policies
- supporting conservation or social projects in your destination
- buying local foodstuffs and locally-made souvenirs
- using a local guide
- reduce carbon emissions by using public transportation on the ground or offsetting emissions from their flight;
- fill reusable water bottles with boiled or filtered water instead of buying bottled water in countries where the tap water isn’t drinkable;
- take extra efforts to find recycling facilities for their plastic and paper waste on the road;
- stay in an environmentally-mindful hotel;
- patronize restaurants that serve local produce;
- book trips with tour operators that work to lower their environmental footprint
- respecting local resource shortages (typically water)
The United Nations World Tourism Organization has identified three guiding principles for sustainable tourism. Hotels, tour operators, airlines, and cruises should follow these guidelines;
- eco-friendly practices, such as minimizing the use of plastic
- protecting natural and cultural heritage
- supporting local communities by employing local staff, buying local products and engaging in charity work
The 10 Best Sustainable Travel Blogs: If you want to get inspired by people who are practicing what they preach – follow these sustainable travel blogs!
A writer from the Huffington Post recently published the article: Eat, Pray, Litter: The Truth About Tourists in Bali. In the article, she highlights the destructive habits of tourists. This image is really all the reader needs to understand the impact.
A good start to being an eco-friendly traveler is to simply leave the place better than you found it & find ways to support the local economy. Freedom is found for both the tourists and the locals when eco-friendly habits are practiced.