Visiting a destination makes you appreciate its beauty and value so much more. However, we all have a part to play in ensuring that destinations around the world are maintained and cared for, so that others may also get to experience them in their natural splendour. Being a responsible tourist doesn’t rob you of any of the joy and excitement of visiting a place. Rather, it adds to the experience and leaves you feeling satisfied that you have contributed to its sustainability…
Modes of Transport
We all know that cars emit harmful gases that destroy our atmosphere, but aeroplanes do much the same. So, for trips that don’t require crossing oceans, consider taking the train. This is a really relaxed, easy way to travel and allows you to stroll around, sleep and play games along the way. Within a destination, try to walk or take bicycles wherever possible. Not only is this environmentally better, but it also gives you the opportunity to experience the landscape in a much more personal, less rushed way. If you have to fly, try to take a direct flight, rather than stopping over. Use public transport, if necessary, rather than renting your own vehicle.
Switch it Off
When leaving your home and office to head for your holiday, make sure that you unplug and switch off all of your appliances, including your geyser, which uses loads of electricity. At your destination and in your accommodation, be sure to switch off your lights and the air-conditioning in the hotel room.
Ask About Green Initiatives
Before booking at various accommodation facilities and tourist attractions, enquire about their green initiatives and sustainable practices. Try to book only where there are systems like recycling, grey water usage, solar heating, and so on, in place. The more of a habit this becomes to tourists, the more places will begin implementing sustainable measures.
Opt for local markets and food sourced from the area rather than buying imported foodstuffs from large supermarkets. Of course, some destinations are not always as hygienic as others, and you’ll need to be careful of the cleanliness of your fruit and vegetables. When packing your own meals, choose a container that you can use again (i.e. not a plastic packet that will be thrown away each day) and avoid using polystyrene packaging.
Water is a scarce commodity the world around, and a culture of respect for it needs to be created. When travelling anywhere, whether locally or internationally, it is imperative that you turn taps off tightly, don’t let water run while you brush your teeth and shave, wash your own clothes in only as much water as you need, and so on.
When buying souvenirs and memorabilia, support local manufacturers and craftsmen. This will help to create a viable industry for these ones and will save the money spent on imports.
Support the Community
When you travel, look out for opportunities to give back to the local community in a way that shows them how tourism benefits them. You may volunteer to help build a facility, contribute money or raise awareness.
Support World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites have been awarded such a status according to stringent requirements. This means that they are always rewarding places to see and experience. By supporting these, you promote the heritage of the destination as well as support the efforts of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, which seeks to uplift communities and the environment and to create a tourism industry that benefits the destination.