Practicing responsible tourism
Hospitality and tourism are contributed around 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, linked to transport, land use, built environments, energy and water use, agriculture, and waste produced.
According to the UN World Tourism Organization sustainable tourism must:
Conserve environmental resources and protect biodiversity
Respect and preserve the cultures of host communities whilst benefiting them
Address the needs of visitors and industry whilst providing socio- economic benefit to all.
With countries competing for the tourism dollar, sadly mass tourism has taken a toll on the people, cultural identities and their environment.
For tourism to continue and operate within planetary boundaries mass tourism has to change and move towards viable sustainable tourism models.
What you can do
Search for eco-tourism companies
What others have done
Set up specialist tours
For example, The Swiss Foundation for Solidarity in Tourism (SST”) is a not-for-profit founded by leading tour operators supporting projects worldwide.
Mdumbi is an award winning community run backpackers on the Wild Coast of South Africa promoting “community involvement and sustainable eco-tourism”. See through the "Find out more" button below.
Introduced controlled tourism
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan advocates for developing itself using the Gross National Happiness Index. It has ensured that the sustainable way of life is not damaged by its operating principle of “high value, low impact”.
Made environmentally friendly resorts
For example, the Six Senses Fiji five star resort has sustainable luxury and cultural awareness at its core. The resort runs on 100% solar power, is equipped with rainwater capture, and an onsite water-filtration site avoiding the use of single-use plastic bottles.
Holiday at Home
Meaningful vacations can be done closer to home. Explore our own countries, regional and local communities, way of life, history, culture, natural surroundings and our own wildlife.
We often know more about elsewhere than our own backyard. Enjoy relaxed time without going far and adding to long distance carbon emissions. It is also a cheaper option and can be done often for short breaks away from the rat race!
The most carbon intensive option is flying to a destination. Depending on where you are going to, think about alternative modes or different holiday options. Long distance trains with sleeper cars can get you across many continents and between cities.
They can be as much part of the travel adventure than the destination alone. Water travel on rivers or along coastlines to see wildlife give different perspectives. Large cruise ships can also be as carbon damaging as flying.
Driving holidays, provided the car is full, emits less carbon than flying. Car ferries have routings in many countries particularly Europe, USA, New Zealand.
Call for change
Always look for holiday and tour operators that advocate for more responsible travel decisions
and organising sustainable and ethical holiday packages.
Ask your local travel agent to list more of these environmentally conscious tours as part of their packages.