Sustainable travel – what does this really mean?
You often see the terms ‘travel green’ or ‘sustainable tourism’ which can be a bit confusing to some. But what does this really mean?
The truth is that while tourism continues to be one of the world’s largest industries, it also places an enormous impact on the environment,
this including pollution, deforestation, inefficient energy use and cultural exploitation.
The responsibility lies with the destination promoting their particular area as a tourist hot spot as well as the tourist themselves making informed decisions for their next trip. The answer is not to cease traveling itself or stop encouraging tourists to visit destinations with vulnerable eco-systems, but rather to make sure that steps are taken to conserve local natural resources while also being a conscientious traveler.
Finding an place and or/resort that takes eco-sustainability seriously can initially prove to be quite
the challenge. Often details can be missing are hard to find, especially in third world countries where laws can be more easily overlooked. But the importance is so great that taking that extra bit of time makes (quite literally) a world of difference.
Going ‘green’ – what does this mean?
Unfortunately this term ‘green’ has become a tad diluted in the past few decades as many businesses promotes the perception that their policies are environmentally friendly while not always following through with that promise. Hotels were one of the first businesses to use this term when encouraging guests to reuse towels in an effort to appear ‘environmentally conscious’ while really not taking any steps
to actually do so.
The true definition of Environmentally-friendly travel
Ecotourism as a term as defined by the International Ecotourism Society: “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.” This means supporting businesses that believe and act in environmental conservation locally, help social development and strive to improve the economic health of the areas they reside. This could mean recycling daily and not producing too much waste, conserving energy using efficient green technology, hiring workers with a fair and livable wage – just to name a few.
To support this cause, when you travel ask questions and dig deep. Make sure the hotel/resort/business follows through on their promise to be a part of sustainable tourism and don’t be afraid to change plans if you find out that they don’t abide by the rules they promote. This is the first step into traveling green and keeping the world as we found it.
Now we want to hear from our readers, what does sustainable travel mean to you and how to you seek to travel ‘green’? Plus, provide us with businesses or destinations that stand out and why.