How Can You Promote Sustainable Travel?
“I pledge to educate myself, my family, and my friends based on my experiences and my knowledge of responsible travel, and to talk to other experienced travellers in an effort to learn more about the world and sustainable best practice.”
To ensure companies, organisations, and destinations prioritise sustainable travel, we must increase the numbers of travellers who value an industry that is accountable to itself — accountable to the fact that climate change is wreaking havoc on the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Accountable to the fact that tourism contributes to global issues like water scarcity in vulnerable areas and accountable to the fact that travellers have stoked demand for tourists attractions that jeopardise animal welfare.
These are the pressing issues that travellers must commit to making right in their own travels, and commit to sharing with others the important steps we can take to make a helpful, sustainable, and healthy Travel & Tourism industry that lifts and supports the people, places, and environments that we so value on our trips.
In order to create the global movement needed to affect real change, travellers must commit to spreading their knowledge and approach to travel. It’s not enough to pick a responsible vacation yourself, but as you see the very real and immediate need for sustainable travel solutions, you must educate others — your friends, family, neighbors — about how they can make responsible tourism choices.
Tourism organisations have cottoned on to the fact travellers are looking for new ways to create a positive impact in the communities they visit. Sustainable tourism marketing is a growing niche, and there are even industry conferences and countless panels about how to increase traveller knowledge of sustainable tourism products and services. But many of these conferences are either industry-facing events, or they preach to the converted — those travellers who already understand the sustainable imperative.
The next stage of growth for sustainable tourism lies within the travellers themselves. To grow demand for sustainability within the industry, more travellers must expect it of the tour companies, cruise lines, hotels, and restaurants that they use on vacation. Once you’ve committed to responsible travel, talk with others about your decision to change your consumption habits. Share with friends and family the booking engines, websites, and companies you use to maximise the sustainability of your trips. Help them understand what it means to be a responsible traveller, and how you’ve managed to implement those changes in your own life.
As you share with others your decision to travel responsibly, you will also meet others who share this concern and focus. One of the best ways to create sustainable vacations is to better understand the landscape. Talk with other experienced travellers and use their knowledge to increase your own.
Throughout our busy lives, it can be difficult to stay up-to-the-minute on the latest industry news, but by talking with others who you know share a passion for sustainable travel, you can broaden your knowledge and discover new areas that you may need to research further.
Sustainable tourism is no longer a small niche part of Travel & Tourism, instead, the industry is increasingly taking to heart the urgent need to bake into every business model a long-term plan for responsibility to the local cultures and environments. As a traveller, develop a curiosity about the many ways you can be a part of the solution. Best practices in the industry evolve every year as new technologies and standards move to the forefront, and it’s important that you maintain your knowledge base around responsible travel. Here are a few resources that will expand and increase your knowledge, sharing stories of tourism done right and ideas of how you can travel the world in a responsible manner filled with positive intentions and actions.
- Tourism for Tomorrow Awards: These annual awards recognise best practices in sustainable tourism within the industry globally, based upon the principles of environmentally friendly operations; support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage; and direct benefits to the social and economic well-being of local people in travel destinations around the world. Use these awards to learn about projects, programmes, and organisations taking innovative approaches to sustainability within Travel and Tourism.
- Ethical Traveler: This resource point helps travellers better understand the many ways to travel with a focus on responsible and sustainable tourism practices. Covering a broad range of subjects, you can use this as a portal of the latest Travel & Tourism industry updates related to issues of sustainability.
- Responsible Travel: From guides to articles to tours, this website holds more than a decade of information to help travellers make responsible tourism choices. The database includes all of the world’s most touristed destinations and you can use it to research tourism challenges in your next destination.
As we move towards a Travel & Tourism industry that has sustainability baked into every aspect, travellers will continue to play an important role by supporting those companies that have invested in sustainable business models.