According to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation, “sustainable tourism refers to a tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”
With this definition in mind, let’s review some of the amazing ways to promote sustainable tourism.
#1. Take Non-Stop Flights
Do you travel a lot by plane? Well, did you know that besides emitting a lot of heat, take-offs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions?
This is why it is recommended to book a non-stop flight, which will require less amount of fuel and lower the plane’s carbon emissions.
#2. Avoid the Plane Itself
Ok, this is not always possible, but if you can, I would recommend you to avoid the plane and for example, take the train instead. Traveling by train can not only decrease your carbon footprints, but it can also provide you with the unique chance of experiencing a deeper sense of place.
#3. Travel Responsibly to Less-Visited Destinations
There are around 195 countries in the world, with more than 4 billion hectares of forest area and around 9 million waterfalls. Despite all these tourist attractions available, statistics show that 80 % of people tend to visit only 20 % of destinations in the world. Can you believe it?
For instance, in Venice alone, there are more than 30 million tourists per year and these destinations are the ones suffering from over-tourism. Let me give you some more examples:
- Great cities like Bruges in Belgium put a stop to its day trips advertising so as to lighten the weekend rush.
- On the other hand, Paris, Barcelona, Rome and Amsterdam (with some more European cities) are limiting the number of beds available in licensed hotels in order to decrease over-tourism.
The saddest thing is how these beautiful destinations turn into toxic wastelands due to the effects of over-tourism and overconsumption. But one way to fight against this is to travel to less-visited places in the world. Now, I am not asking you to stop visiting the City of Love or the City of Lights, but I encourage you to opt for some off-the-beaten tracks.
#4. Research the Accommodations
It is evident that you will make a proper planning of your trip (except if you want to break the monotony of preparing everything, take up a crazy challenge and go to an unknown destination). Therefore, it is essential to do your research and choose a hotel that has high environmental standards and which is certified by a third party like Rainforest Alliance or Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Another way to promote sustainability is by choosing local places to stay.
#5. Support Local Restaurants
Another easy green tip is to spend some time in local restaurants and food joints. Instead of having several meals at luxurious hotels and ordering from food giants, it is better to support small businesses. And, in this way, you will not only support locally-grown and produced ingredients, but you will also meet locals and try their traditional food.
Moreover, I suggest not choosing all-inclusive package holidays as it means that you will have to pay up-front for your accommodation, food and activities and as a result, it will discourage you from going out to local restaurants.
#6. Walk Where Possible
The most basic way of visiting a new place is to walk around and of course, this can also reduce your carbon footprints. What you can do is to ask tour guides for advice on places that are safe to walk through.
Furthermore, by leaving your vehicle behind and waking, you will not disturb animals in the wild (as they are often rattled by heavy sounds like those generated by motor vehicles).
#7. Travel With Reusables
Perhaps, this is the most easiest and simplest way to go green. So, always remember to pack reusable bags, reusable water bottles, metal straws, a travel mug and so on. Trust me, by adopting this habit, you will discourage the use of plastic items that fill up landfills and cause harm to the environment.
Will you adopt these habits when traveling? Please share your comments.