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Sustainable travel should be a trend in our modern day, as the usual travel and tourism acts have been of great damage to the planet because of harmful CO2 emissions and luxury resorts built on natural forests and areas.

Air travel is also too harmful to the environment, but since we cannot stop flying, let us at least be sustainable travelers who contribute to enhancing the green life of the destinations we visit.

In this blog, airssist provides detailed tips and recommendations on how to achieve sustainable tourism and Eco-friendly travel goals during your trips.

 

What is Sustainable Travel & Who Is the Sustainable Traveler?

Sustainable travel is all about finding a way to keep travel and tourism safe for nature, environment, culture, and community on a long-term basis.

To be more precise in defining sustainable tourism, there is no better definition than the UN World Tourism Organization definition of sustainable travel to quote: “Tourism 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.”

The main issue is that the travel and tourism industry activities consume too much burning fossil fuels, contributing to climate change. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 40% of the world’s overall carbon emission will be generated by travel and tourism, divided between transportation, accommodation, and tourism activities.

sustainability for travelers

To add on, sustainable tourism is about understanding the value of the environment and wildlife, preserving the earth’s natural resources, and realizing how tourism affects a country’s local people, natives, and their businesses.

From the previously mentioned definition, we conclude that sustainable travelers are travelers who are truly aware of the way their travel choices can affect the world environmentally, socially, and economically. Thus, sustainable travelers are those who choose to protect the nature of the destination they visit, preserve its wildlife safety, support its local businesses, and cut down on polluting transportation means.

 

The Three Pillars of Travel Sustainability

The sustainable travel concept consists of three main pillars, known as the three pillars of travel sustainability, and they cover the aspects that sustainable travelers must commit to during their travel and tourism:

The Environmental Pillar – this area focuses on decreasing the negative impacts of traveling on the environment and wildlife. This includes reducing carbon footprint, especially the percentage caused by air travel, water usage, and plastic waste. As sustainable travelers, we can make a positive impact by carrying our own reusable packaging items. We can also book hotels and restaurants that recycle their waste and are built from sustainable materials, and we definitely must help in protecting animals in their natural habitat.

The Social Pillar – this is mainly about our effect on local people and their communities. This involves supporting businesses where local people manage, work, and support the shop, in addition to NGOs, community tourism projects, charities, and social enterprises. Responsible travelers can search for opportunities to join these types of projects and learn who businesses are employing, whether they are paying them fairly, and whether they work in a safe working environment.

The Economic Pillar –the economic pillar of sustainable travel indicates that sustainable travelers should spend their money at local economy shops to positively contribute to the local economy. As tourists, we can book in locally run hotels, tour guides, and restaurants to boost the local economy.

 

Impact of Traditional Tourism

 

Environmental Impacts:

 

Increased carbon footprint:

Transporting visitors to and from locations, frequently by air, is a component of traditional tourism that adds to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Large quantities of energy are needed to build and run lodgings like hotels and resorts, which adds to carbon emissions even more. Environmental damage from these emissions includes the acceleration of climate change and its related repercussions.

 

Resource depletion:

The great demands of visitors to well-known tourist spots frequently make it difficult to manage their water and energy supplies. Where there is currently a water shortage, it can get worse, which puts pressure on nearby populations and ecosystems. Comparably, more energy use might put pressure on regional power systems and raise dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

 

Pollution:

Conventional travel produces a number of pollutant types. Travelers’ packaging, food trash, and single-use items can overwhelm local waste management systems and contaminate land and water bodies. Wildlife can suffer and local ecosystems might be upset by noise pollution from nightlife, leisure, and transportation.

 

Damage to ecosystems and wildlife:

There are a variety of ways in which ecosystems and animals might be affected by an increase in tourism. The development of man-made structures like hotels and resorts has the potential to demolish and fragment natural habitats. Hiking, wildlife viewing, and water sports are popular tourist activities, but they can have a negative impact on natural habitats and the habits of local animals, such as how they reproduce.

 

Social & Cultural Impacts:

 

Exploitation of local resources and labor:

Large hotel chains and tour operators typically end up with all the economic benefits when it comes to traditional tourism. As a result, the local community may not receive as many economic benefits. Workers in the area may have to deal with low pay, unsafe working conditions, and little promotion chances. In addition, local ecosystems and traditional businesses such as fishing and agriculture might be negatively impacted by the extraction of resources to meet tourist needs.

 

Cultural homogenization and loss of traditions:

In the case of traditional tourism, cultural homogenization can occur as a result of the impact and conformity of local cultures to the tastes and expectations of tourists. Communities may change their ways to suit the needs of tourists, which can lead to the erosion of genuine cultural traditions and experiences. Traditions that were once deeply important might become commercialized and watered down when cultural heritage is turned into a commodity.

 

In Brief, by understanding these impacts, it becomes clear that the negative consequences of traditional tourism can be far-reaching. It is essential to adopt sustainable tourism practices to mitigate these impacts and ensure the long-term viability of destinations, while preserving their natural environments, cultures, and communities.

 

Top 10 Types of Sustainable Tourism

 

Ecotourism :

Ecotourism promotes sustainability in travel and tourism and conservation while allowing visitors to experience and enjoy natural settings. It seeks to reduce the negative effects on ecosystems, assist nearby communities, and raise awareness among tourists of the need of protecting the environment.

 

Cultural Tourism :

This type of tourism entails fully absorbing the customs, history, and culture of the place. Through its support of regional craftspeople, preservation of cultural landmarks, and promotion of understanding between visitors and local communities, it advances sustainability in travel and tourism.

 

Adventure Tourism:

Sustainable Tourism Practices are combined with outdoor activities in adventure tourism. In addition to wildlife safaris, hiking, and kayaking, it stresses the need of protecting natural resources and encouraging ethical travel practices.

 

Sustainable Wildlife Tourism:

This type of tourism focuses on observing and appreciating wildlife while ensuring their protection and conservation. It involves responsible wildlife viewing practices, supporting conservation initiatives, and respecting animal welfare

 

Community-based Tourism :

Community-based tourism means interacting with local communities and promoting their sustainable tourist development. It encourages the locals to engage in tourist activities, brings in money for the neighborhood, and encourages cross-cultural interaction.

 

Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism :

This kind of tourism encourages the conservation and sustainable usage of coastal and marine habitats. It includes beach cleanups, diving, and snorkelling all while following sustainable tourism practices that save coastal ecosystems and marine life.

 

Agritourism :

Agritourism is the travel to and involvement in rural agricultural activities. Through its support of regional farmers, demonstration of sustainable farming methods, and promotion of a link between tourists and the environment, it encourages sustainable tourism practices.

 

Volunteer tourism

Volunteer tourism combines travel with volunteering opportunities. It allows tourists to contribute to sustainable tourism practices by engaging in community development projects, conservation efforts, or social initiatives that benefit local communities.

 

Sustainable Urban Tourism :

This type of tourism promotes sustainability in travel and tourism inside cities. While promoting regional companies and communities, it encompasses programmes like environmentally friendly transportation, green infrastructure, and cultural preservation.

 

Wellness Tourism :

By stressing the link between mind, body, and nature as well as individual well-being, wellness tourism encourages sustainable tourism practices. It includes, frequently in scenic and environmentally friendly locations, yoga, spa, and wellness retreats. Pre-travel wellness tips can also be helpful to ensure a rejuvenating and balanced experience during your wellness tourism journey.

 

in short, through knowledge and encouragement of these sustainable tourism forms, we can both enjoy fulfilling travel experiences and positively influence the environment, local communities, and cultural legacy.

 

Principles of Sustainable Tourism:

In recent years, the concept of sustainable tourism has gained significant attention as travelers and destinations alike recognize the need to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive contributions. Sustainable tourism focuses on creating a balance between environmental conservation, social responsibility, and cultural preservation. By adopting the principles of sustainable tourism, we can ensure that our travels leave a lasting positive impact on the places we visit. Including:

 

1. Minimize Environmental Impact:

 

Responsible transportation choices:

One of the most effective ways to minimize the environmental impact of tourism is by making responsible transportation choices. Opting for low-emission modes of transportation, such as trains or electric vehicles, reduces carbon emissions and air pollution. Additionally, utilizing public transport or choosing to walk or cycle whenever possible further reduces the carbon footprint of travel.

 

Eco-friendly accommodation:

Another important principle of sustainable tourism is to opt for eco-friendly accommodation options. Look for hotels and resorts that prioritize energy efficiency and water conservation. These establishments may incorporate practices such as using renewable energy sources, implementing water-saving measures, and promoting recycling and waste reduction.

 

Respectful waste management:

Sustainable tourism involves responsible waste management practices. Travelers should be mindful of their waste generation and dispose of it properly. It is crucial to follow local waste management guidelines, recycle whenever possible, and minimize the use of single-use items. By reducing waste and promoting recycling, we can help prevent pollution of land and water bodies in the destinations we visit.

 

Sustainable activities:

Engaging in sustainable activities is another key principle of sustainable tourism. Ecotourism, for example, focuses on experiencing and appreciating the natural environment while promoting its conservation. This can include activities such as wildlife watching, nature walks, and supporting local conservation efforts. Additionally, seeking out local experiences and supporting community-based tourism initiatives allows us to contribute directly to the socio-economic development of the local communities we visit.

 

2. Maximize Social & Cultural Benefits:

 

Support local businesses and communities:

Sustainable tourism emphasizes the importance of supporting local businesses and communities. By opting for locally-owned accommodations, restaurants, and tour operators, we can ensure that a significant portion of the tourism revenue stays within the destination, benefiting the local economy. Additionally, purchasing locally-made handicrafts and products supports local artisans and preserves traditional craftsmanship.

 

Learn and respect local cultures and traditions:

 Cultural preservation is a fundamental aspect of sustainable tourism. Travelers should take the time to learn about the local cultures and traditions of the destinations they visit. This includes engaging in respectful interactions with local communities, participating in cultural activities, and supporting initiatives that aim to preserve and promote local heritage. By understanding and respecting local cultures, we can foster mutual understanding and appreciation.

 

Contribute to local conservation efforts:

Sustainable tourism encourages travelers to contribute to local conservation efforts. This can involve participating in volunteer programs, donating to local environmental organizations, or engaging in responsible wildlife tourism that supports conservation initiatives. By actively contributing to the preservation of natural habitats and wildlife, we can help ensure their long-term sustainability.

 

 

11 Actions to Take as a Sustainable Traveler?

Local and international tourists must be familiar and mindful of how to travel sustainably and the valuable impact they can make on the destination area once they arrive:

 

Transportation

sustainable transportation

1. Get to Your Destination by the Most Sustainable Form of Transportation

According to your destination, you may have many travel options, you may drive, fly, take a bus or train. You have to compare between the available options, for example, if you are traveling with a group, it would be convenient to share a car; whereas if you are traveling alone, it would be greener to take a train or fly, depending on the distance of your destination.

As a result, always consider that taking a bus or train is much more sustainable than flights and car rides.

 

 

2. Choose Direct Flights when Possible

When flying, always choose the shortest flight route to your destination. Try to book a direct flight with no transit stops, as landings and take-offs cause the largest amount of planes carbon emissions.

3. Fly on Economy Class

First-class or business-class seats occupy more of the plane’s space per passenger, causing a considerable increase in carbon footprint. That’s why we recommend you to book economy seats, they are better for the environment and your budget.

4. Use Sustainable Forms of Transportation when You Arrive at Your Destination

After you arrive at your targeted location, go to local locations by foot or by bike, those are the most sustainable and the greenest forms of transportation. When your next destination is a little far and it is not feasible to walk or drive by bike, use public transportation, i.e., minibuses, metros, or car shares, instead of a private car or taxi.

 

Accommodation

 

5.  Stay in Locally Owned Accommodation Facilities

The first thing you can do to support local businesses is to make sure that you stay in a locally owned accommodation facility, such as hotels, resorts, bed and breakfast, and guesthouses. Read and research thoroughly on hotel concierge recommendation websites to learn who owns and runs the place, because sustainability is achieved when your money goes to support the local economy instead of being redirected abroad for a foreign owner of a hotel or resort.

6. Check Hotels’ Green Certifications Before Booking

Search for accommodation facilities that commit to sustainability initiatives, such as recycling, energy-efficient lighting, solar power, and so on. Also, inquire whether the hotel recruits a local staff or not, and if they source locally made food meals.

There are standard international certifications for hotels and resorts that are proven to be sustainable, such certifications are Green Globe and Green Key.

sustainable travel

7. Go Camping

If you aim to be a sustainable traveler and love the outdoors, it is your opportunity to go wild by camping as an accommodation during your trip. This would be the most sustainable place to stay, with many environmental benefits.

 

Sustainable Travel Activities

 

8. Join Sustainable Tour Organizers with Green Certifications

Before joining any tours, do a thorough research to learn whether the tour organizers are committed to sustainability or not. Check if they hold any of the most trusted green certificates, such as Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance, EarthCheck, or any other green certifications. Also, check other travelers’ reviews on specific websites, like Google Reviews, Trustpilot, and TripAdvisor to know more about green travelers’ satisfaction with the sustainability of tour organizers.

9. Join Trusted Wildlife Tours

One of the most important factors of sustainable travel is to avoid causing any harm to animals. If you want to have a sustainable travel experience, never go on a wildlife tour if it includes close encounters with animals. Wild animals are not familiar with human contact and it is disturbing to them. For that reason, avoid any tour that allows tourists to touch, ride, or cuddle animals. Search for tours that would not disturb the wild creatures and would commit to preserving a certain distance between them and the tourists.

10. Responsible Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

If you intend to snorkel or scuba dive during your trip, be careful not to tread or cause any damage to the sea coral as this can harm the fragile ecosystem. Nearly half of the coral reefs globally have been damaged beyond repair. If we want to save the beautiful coral reefs, we must scuba dive and snorkel responsibly. When you go snorkeling or diving, join small groups to prevent overcrowding. Also, do not try to feed the fish and sea animals and do not touch them, too. Additionally, it is highly important to use reef-friendly sunscreen, in other words, a sunscreen that does not contain titanium dioxide because this mineral reacts in seawater, forming hydrogen peroxide, which is very harmful to all sea animals.

 

Supporting Local Environment

11.  Visit Local Restaurants, Cafes, and Shops

Once again, the sustainable tourism system advocates travelers to spend their money in restaurants, cafes, shops, and businesses that are run and owned by locals only.

Eating at local restaurants will spark warm feelings within your heart, because of their cozy atmosphere and the enthusiasm local owners show to the customers who want to try their local food. Also, we all know that local restaurants offer meals that could be only found in their community. It is always recommended to try the local cuisine of every new city you visit. Avoid eating at international food chains because with such restaurants your money never enters the local economy.

Even in shopping, buy locally grown vegetables and fruits because imported goods have taken a long transportation journey, causing undesirable carbon emissions.

Moreover, when you shop for souvenirs to take back home, buy the ones made by local artists and handmade crafters, even the clothes at local shops are environment-friendly clothing.

 

In Conclusion,

On your next trip, follow all these steps and do not take them for granted. The biggest mistake we all make is believing that it is fine if we did not contribute to saving our planet because someone else will certainly do it. In fact, we cannot save our planet unless we all collaborate to do so.

airssist airport concierge services is prepared to expedite your departure from the airport in timely manner through the use of sustainable practices in VIP terminals and meet and greet services; therefore, you can have more enjoyable journey for a green tourism.

Note: Please note that the information on this page is generic & subject to change due to fluctuations in airport services. Kindly confirm service availability with our team, as offerings may vary daily.

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