The tourism market around the world is slowly rebounding after two years of crisis. With increasing climate and environmental changes, it is imperative for us to follow sustainable tourism practices.
The The United Nations The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, meeting the needs of visitors, industry, the environment and local communities. welcome”.
On this World Tourism Day (September 27), here is our pick of five tips to help you become an eco-conscious traveler.
Find your tour operators
Research your tour operators thoroughly before planning your trips. Check if they offer eco-friendly hotels or homestays. Some hotels and resorts are “certified green” where they use renewable energy like solar panels and practice rainwater harvesting. They may even have used local materials depending on geography and topography. Some hotels also practice organic farming and grow their own produce. Staying with locals and farming communities and plotting your route to explore less traveled areas are also great ways to practice responsible tourism.
Thanks to packaged snacks and water, tourists tend to throw a lot of trash into the environment in the form of carrier bags, water bottles, plastic food wrappers, and more. Carry your own water bottle, cutlery, reusable straws and coffee cups, and take care not to throw away sachets, empty bottles, etc. can help reduce waste.
Only dispose of garbage in the bins and do not litter. You can also take a paper or fabric bag to collect your waste and then throw it away wherever you find a trash can. To reduce your carbon footprint in a new place, favor public transport, cycling or walking. It’s also important to use electricity and water responsibly wherever you go. We can also avoid wasting paper by switching to e-tickets and e-documents. When shopping, look for indigenous handicrafts to help the local economy, and purchase eco-friendly products and souvenirs.
Discover the joys of traveling slowly
The generations that preceded us did not always have access to the infrastructure to travel quickly. Today, despite the options for reaching a destination quickly, the idea of traveling slowly is catching up with conscious travellers.
Traveling slowly means taking the time to experience the local people, cultures, food and arts, not rushing from place to place, taking trains, buses or choosing to walk rather than fly or drive relentlessly from one place to another without taking the time to bond with a place. After all, shouldn’t traveling be about savoring the joy of the here and now and also having a lasting impact on the environment?
Avoid wildlife tourism
Riding animals such as elephants, camels and horses is not an uncommon sight in tourist destinations. But how many of us know that these animals are not cared for properly and may even suffer abuse and neglect when used for commercial purposes?
In 2016, Elephant Aid International president Carol Buckley said that transporting humans is harmful to elephant spines. When animals are offered as photo props, it is advisable not to take selfies with them. When shopping, avoid animal products as much as possible. When exploring forests and wildlife, it is best to respect boundaries and rules, avoid being loud and intrusive, and do not take photos near animal nests and habitats. Avoid geotagging locations as they often attract poachers to places where wild animals have been spotted. The point is, we must always respect the sanctity of wildlife and tribal traditions as tourists.
Be an eco-tourist
Today, many travelers join extensive workshops around the world to learn about sustainable architecture practices, pottery, local cuisines and more. In an effort to promote ecotourism, many travelers choose to volunteer to help locals with their environmental efforts like beach cleanups, reforestation activities, organic farming, and more.
Planting trees in tribal belts and animal corridors can be extremely satisfying, and the saplings you plant now will one day confirm the positive impact your presence has on the planet. Even if you can’t get to a place but want to improve its ecology, a social organization, Grow-Trees.com, can help you donate trees with just one click to areas in need of support. eco-friendly across India.
Imagine playing an instrumental role in increasing greenery in the picturesque hamlet of Zuluk in Sikkim to promote ecotourism and improve local livelihoods! You can also gift a tree through the website to your hotel/homestay owner as a token of appreciation for their green efforts.
Read also | Indonesia’s rural villages offer lessons for global tourism