Are your holidays sustainable?
When you go sightseeing, do you think of the impact this may have? Are your holidays sustainable?
The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) defines Sustainable tourism as ““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”. According to its data, every year, more than 1,400 million people travel for tourism, equivalent to nearly a fifth of the world’s population.
Looking at these figures, the need to opt for trips that are environmentally friendly is obvious; travelling sustainably to minimize the impact on the planet is paramount. These decisions have an obvious impact on SDG 12, which works towards responsible Consumption and Production, and also focusses on tourism.
Making good use of environmental resources, reducing the traveller’s carbon footprint, respecting the sociocultural authenticity of the host communities, and ensuring long-term feasible economic activities, which produce well distributed socioeconomic benefits for all stakeholders, are some of the guidelines we must take into consideration when planning our travel and holidays.
As we are all tourists at times, we propose a guide for you to travel more respectfully and sustainably:
- Travel on greener transport.
Reduce the carbon footprint. Try to avoid using short-haul flights, and choose more sustainable transport such as trains. Cycling or even travelling on foot are also great options.
The carbon footprint will be smaller and you will enjoy a different travel experience.
- Give a resounding no to plastic.
It is unnecessary to keep repeating the severe effect plastic has on the planet and oceans… choose local purified water in recyclable glass bottles and carry reusable bags in your luggage to use when you visit markets and shops.
- Hire local guides on your visits.
It will be a better experience and you will be generating work within the local community.
- Support the real local economy.
Locally manufactured handicrafts and souvenirs are not always the cheapest, but buying them ensures that your contribution to the economy will have a more direct and positive impact.