5 ways to be the change you want to see in the world

Why sustainable tourism is the future of travel

Anja Vidrih
Oct 25, 2018 · 6 min read

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. (Howard Zinn)

Let’s begin with two mind-blowing travel related facts:

  • According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, global tourism generated $7.6 trillion for the global GDP in 2014.
  • By UNTWO estimates, the number of international tourists has grown from 25 million to 1.2 billion in the last 70 years.

Looking at these incredible facts, it is clear to see that tourism has become one of the fastest growing and largest industries in the world. With such an exponential and continuous rise, tourism has an immense environmental, economic and socio-cultural impact on the world, which can be extremely beneficial in some aspects, like in the field of employment — to put wording into figures, the WTTC study showed that 292 million jobs, accounting for one in every 10 jobs in the global workforce is provided by the tourism industry; to top that, by 2027, the number of tourism-related jobs is expected to rise to a staggering 380 million!

However, the impact can be just as rewarding as it can be damaging, visible especially in the influence on the environment — like in the case of water consumption where the European Environment Agency discovered that tourists consume 3–4 times more water per day than the permanent residents do, quickly leading to devastating consequences if not properly handled ASAP.

So, how to continue experiencing fulfilling travel adventures and benefiting from the flourishing tourism industry without causing any more harm to our precious Earth? Well, it appears, more and more so, that the global implementation of sustainable development might just be the solution we are looking for.

Why sustainability matters?

For those of you who might not yet be familiar with the term, the Brundtland Commission described sustainability as a process of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. To put it simply, sustainability means developing our world and consuming its products in a way that will not only benefit us but also preserve the world we live in, enabling the Earth to keep supporting human life in years (preferably millenniums) to come.

Sustainability includes sustainable environmental development, ensuring that we use less natural resources than is the Earth’s ability to replenish them, sustainable economic development, establishing an equal economic growth with environmental preservation in mind and sustainable social development, aiming to provide a fairly-distributed quality of life for all human beings.

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly set 17 global goals for sustainable development:

United Nations’s sustainable development goals

According to research done by the global commission on the economy and climate, a global shift to sustainable development could lead to $26 trillion savings by 2030. With such incredible potential of sustainability, it is of vital importance for travellers to become aware of how their footprints are affecting the world and start making crucial steps towards helping protect its’ environment and living beings.

Becoming a sustainable traveller

As follows from the description of sustainability, sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a place as a traveller in a way that does not harm, but positively impacts its environment, society and the economy. In its essence, sustainable tourism respects and protects the visited country’s cultural heritage, the environment and its locals. It aims to give travellers the best travel experience possible in a way that at the same time also benefits the local community.

A global Sustainable Travel Report showed that while 87% of travellers want to travel sustainably, only 39% manage to so. To help you out on your travel journeys, we have made a list of 5 simple ways to become a more sustainable traveller:

1. Respect the culture

Before visiting a foreign country, inform yourself about the culture and values of the visited community in order to be able to behave in a fashion that properly respects their heritage, traditions and distinctiveness. Immerse in local traditions, adhere to the cultural etiquette, dress appropriately and learn at least at least some of their language to promote cultural exchange — after all, the beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.

2. Support the locals

The best way to support the local community is to follow one simple principle: Wherever you go, try to live like the locals there do. To engage with the local communities, stay in locally owned accommodations, eat and drink at places owned by locals, go on “like a local” tours and buy products that benefit local artisans, like for example locally made crafts and souvenirs.

For the easiest search of nearby local businesses wherever you are, the Futourist app is coming out soon to bring you countless personalized, local-friendly and rewarding travel experiences that will not only enable you the most fulfilling journey but will also empower the local communities.

3. Be environmental-friendly

Being environmentally-conscious when travelling (or when living your day-to-day) means supporting the environment in a way that helps preserve its natural state of being. You can best accomplish this by using public transport, renting a bike, buying organic, locally-produced food, recycling, choosing eco-friendly accommodations, following designated trails when exploring nature and visiting only the attractions that help preserve the environment rather than damage it, like national and wildlife parks.

4. Seek authentic experiences

When seeking new adventurous experiences, keep in mind to look for activities that preserve and promote the destinations’ authenticity, enabling you an in-depth understanding and a “real feel” of the visited destination. Immerse yourself in the local culture and environment by participating in local workshops, cooking classes, local food tastings and traditional festivals.

In the near future, Futourist will come to life as a long-awaited app equipped with a special “experience” category that that will bring you the quickest access to all unique, thrilling and authentic adventures in the city of your choice that best match your needs, wishes and interests.

5. Stay ethical

Another important thing to be attentive about when travelling is to make sure you experience the visited country without causing harm to the animal life there. To do that, avoid questionable animal activities like elephant riding, circus performances and tiger temples and instead, visit animal sanctuaries and conservation centres, participate in safaris or simply go see animals in the wild. However, always keep a respectful distance — as adventurous as it may sound, it is never pleasurable to have an eye to eye with a mama grizzly bear.

With the rise of global sustainable development, Futourist is also stepping up to the game to join the cause of protecting our precious world for millenniums to come by empowering local communities, promoting authentic travel experiences, encouraging ethical tourism, supporting cultural diversity, helping preserve the environment and harnessing the power of blockchain to make the world a better place for us as well as for all of the future generations.

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