How excited do we get when we have finally planned our much-needed vacations? We are so thrilled that we make sure all the arrangements are proper and up to the Mark. But do we care and ponder over the harmful effects and pollution that we cause to the surroundings and the places we visit? I am sure no one from us is really that bothered or responsible enough to understand the importance of travelling sustainably and protecting the environment.
We can see the atmosphere breathing since the pandemic took a toll on us. The lockdown period gave Mother Nature its much needed time to relieve and replenish itself. The clear blue sky, the chirping of the birds, was all because of no vehicles and transport used for three months which led to less pollution and harm to the environment. It, therefore, becomes inevitable that we need to travel consciously and responsibly so that we can avoid polluting the environment.
Tourism contributes largely to the economy. The rate at which people are travelling has increased in recent years. People love to explore and travel more now, and this requires a need for sustainable tourism. Sustainable Tourism means travelling and exploring a place without putting stress on its environment, culture and people.
Sustainability in tourism is to travel without harming the environment. Such ways are adopted to benefit the community and people, thus nullifying the negative impacts of tourism on the ground. We can make travel sustainable by providing economic benefits to the poorer countries and through cultural exchange and understanding.
Some sustainable destinations
According to a report by different sustainability organisations, cities in Spain, Slovenia is amongst the best for travelling with the least amount of carbon footprint. These towns and countries have proved themselves to be sustainably fit for travelling as they have adopted various norms for a sustainable environment.
Tips to follow while travelling to promote a sustainable environment.
- First and foremost, try to choose a destination or place that is not too far. This way you can avoid travelling by plane and choose train or bicycle instead which will have less impact on the environment. Travelling by aircraft releases more greenhouse gases and increases the carbon footprint on the ground. Therefore, adopting sustainable means of transport can be a better idea. Also, avoid visiting places which are overcrowded so that you do not contribute towards the already deteriorated surroundings.
- Always look for hotels or accommodations which abide by the environmental standards or norms. Don’t go for cheap options. Before booking a hotel, ask such questions like what is the policy of recycling or reducing waste at your hotel, how do you promote sustainable development, is your staff and the owner a resident? All such questions help us to understand the sustainability policy of the place, and we can contribute our part towards a green and clean environment.
- While travelling the most amount of pollution is caused due to plastic waste and shopping bags. What we can do is to carry a reusable water bottle with ourselves so that it can be refilled at every other place—also having a paper bag or an eco- friendly jhola while shopping will also help. This way, we can avoid the use of plastic bags, and there will be no problem of dumping the waste here and there.
- It also becomes necessary to support local economies and sustainable activities. Such places and companies should be looked for where the revenue generated from tourism helps the local economy and promotes livelihood. This will help in boosting the economy and provide support to the local community instead of big businesses. Apart from this, many companies are also adopting sustainability in the activities and fun sports like low impact hiking, using such bikes which provide the fun element and exploration along with zero environmental impact.
- Travelling to your favourite destination and dreaming of a hot shower bath is beautiful, but we cannot forget the need to use water efficiently. Adopting the ways of efficiently and effectively conserving water like turning the tap off when not in use, taking short showers are such ways through which water can be conserved. Also using energy efficiently and sustainably is essential. Switching off the fans and lights when not in use, using energy-saving alternatives all these helps in saving the environment. It is also imperative to ask your hotel management as to what policies they are adopting for water and energy conservation.
- Another thing to be considered is if we try to choose such places or destinations which are suffering economically, we can contribute our bit towards supporting the local communities nearby. This will boost the economy of the country to a great extent, and the people will be inspired to make further charitable donations.
- Most of the time we choose a destination which is worth visiting in a particular season. But that makes it overcrowded and leads to pollution of the environment. To avoid such a situation, we can travel in the offseason as the place will be less crowded and will put less pressure on the ground, plus an added advantage of saving your money will be there.
- While planning your travel, it is always advisable to check out the pages of travellers or take an opinion from one’s who have already visited the place so that one gets to know about the area and what ways can be adopted to travel sustainably.
- Considering travelling by car? A great idea indeed and the cherry on the cake would be if you choose an electric vehicle which uses less fuel and produces fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This will help to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Travelling industry is a big industry, and it is, therefore, all the more necessary that we travel responsibly and sustainably to protect our environment. We need to think and consider ways where we can travel without harming our environment—thus preserving the cultural and natural heritage for future generations to come. Read more on importance of sustainability.