3 Ways to Support Sustainable Tourism
Tourism is on the rise. With budget airlines, vacation packages, and game-changers like Airbnb, more people than ever are travelling the globe, exploring an ever-lengthening list of destinations. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has estimated that by 2030, 1.8 billion international tourist arrivals will take place worldwide each year.
While greater accessibility to travel is certainly a win, the increase of global tourism has had a significant impact. In popular destinations around the world, from Barcelona to Dubrovnik, the quality of life for locals has been dramatically affected, including everything from rising housing costs to inaccessible public areas overrun with visitors. In addition to this, the environmental consequences of a growing travelling population continue to have a devastating impact on global climate change.
So, does this mean we have to give up travel? Of course not! But, as diligent globetrotters, there are a few things we can do to support a sustainable tourism industry and help ensure our world can be enjoyed now and into the future.
Lower your carbon footprint
Decreasing our impact on the global environment is the first step towards sustainability. This can be done in both big and small ways. First, consider your transportation options when you travel, and opt for the ‘greenest’ route whenever possible. This might mean taking the train instead of a plane, or joining a walking tour instead of a tour bus. Other ways to minimize environmental impact include buying and eating local products, reducing water use/waste (take a shorter shower!), limiting waste (say, by using refillable water bottles), and reducing energy consumption. These are small things – that can have a BIG impact.
Make the most of the off-season
While travelling during the warmest times of year is most often the ideal, exploring destinations in the off-season has many benefits. A shift towards travel throughout the year could significantly improve the experience of being in a high-profile place – both for locals and visitors. With fewer people, lines are shorter, streets are less crowded, excursions more readily available. It also puts less pressure on local resources, supports employment related to tourism throughout the year, and overall could more evenly distribute the affects of tourism on a locale. Next time you go to book your vacation, take timing into account, and make the sustainable choice.
Support your local tourism
While for most travellers the allure of exotic locales and new destinations cannot be ignored, taking the time to explore areas close to home can be a very rewarding experience. Whether it be planning a ‘staycation’ or travelling a few hours to a neighbouring region, these travel ventures provide an opportunity for you to explore what your local area has to offer – which is usually a surprising amount. There are many advantages to staying relatively local, including affordability, contributing to your local economy, and gaining a better appreciation for the part of the world you call home. It’s also a much more accessible and sustainable way to take a vacation, from time to time.
Have more tips for sustainable travel? Share them with us in the comments below!