What is Sustainable Travelling? How does it work? Why does it matter? And how can we, as travellers, put the core principles of sustainable travelling into practice?
Over the last decade, more people are traveling than ever before. According to reports, in 2019 [before pandemic] 1.46 billion people travel the world and this massive number has a positive and negative impact on the planet. These negative environmental impacts of tourism are substantial. They include the depletion of local natural resources as well as pollution and waste problems. Tourism often puts pressure on natural resources through over-consumption, often in places where resources are already scarce.
But what’s the solution? Should we be staying at home and not travelling at all? Or moving on to the next destination – and likely causing the same problems there? How can we spend our travel funds in a more sustainable way? It often seems hard to imagine how someone, as individual traveller, can make a meaningful impact against the roaring tides of tourism. What does ‘sustainable travel’ even mean?
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “Responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.”
Basically, Traveling 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 called Sustainable Travelling.
By using sustainable travel principles, we can help curb the negative effects our planet is experiencing. If sustainable travel is done correctly, there shouldn’t be pollution because environmentally-friendly products are used, there is little destruction to the natural environment, and local cultures or wildlife shouldn’t suffer as a result of tourism.
Here we have some essential tips to travel in responsible manner and not hurt the environment!
- Find travel companies that operate sustainably.
- Avoid domestic flights and Whenever possible, try to use public transport.
- Choose Hybrid Car for road trips.
- Avoid printing tickets etc.
- Switch the lights, TV & air-conditioners etc. off when you leave a hotel room.
- Reduce wood usage while camping.
- Take shorter showers and Turn the water off when brushing your teeth.
- Use soap and shampoo bars instead of products having plastic packaging.
- Use Bamboo toothbrush as these brushes can normally be composted rather than ending up in a landfill site or in the ocean.
- Use Reef Safe Sunscreen which is not harmful for marine life and coral.
- Buy Organic Products.
- Avoid use of plastic. To use Jute or fabric bags instead of plastic bags will be a good start.
- Switch to re-usable water bottles instead of buying bottled water.
- To support the local economy, buy souvenirs or food from local people.
- Never take photographs of local people or their stuff without the permission.
- Avoid wildlife encounters & Don’t get too close to wildlife.
- During treks, straying away from the designated route can cause damage to delicate plants so always stay on the path.
- Always carry a bag with you so you can pick up any litter you find and dispose of it responsibly when you return.