Ecotourism & what ‘Us’ travelers could do…
Tourism is what makes the world go round. Such a phrase carries a lot of weight…
What comes to mind when you think of travel? Is it an opportunity to just relax? Spend some quality time with friends and family in a different location? Experiencing new cultures and capturing more Instagram worthy memories 😉
But how often is it that we just consider ‘our’ needs when vacationing whilst forgetting the needs of the travel community. It is true that tourism does generate millions of jobs and income earning opportunities leading to less poverty, however, does impose huge strains on the environment and on the living cultural values of communities. But maybe such a pandemic offered an opportunity for us all to shape the way we travel?
Eco-tourism is gaining much importance nowadays as it allows customers to enjoy a meaningful experience whilst promoting sustainable tourism practices. Travelling in itself, by participating in local festivals and activities, does increase the awareness of different cultures which offers communities the opportunity to share their values and continue practicing their
Also, when visiting natural parks (environmentally friendly tours/excursions) we are supporting the local community by providing them with source of income to conserve their natural heritage and biodiversity. It is thus important that we always keep an open-mind and show the utmost respect towards different cultures.
There is opportunity for every tourism supplier to practice conservation. Responsible hotels use energy efficient light bulbs, restaurants compost food waste, airlines operate more fuel-efficient aircrafts, car rental companies offer hybrid electric cars.
However, we can do more us travelers to support different communities. One way is eating at local restaurants who give us the chance to taste typical food in that region. We should also stay in sustainable hotels who take action in reducing plastic intake and generate energy through renewable sources such as The Feynan Ecolodge.
There is so much we can do to combat natural and socio-cultural issues and that is why we can shift our mentality to one that focuses not only on the now but also on the future. And if we are to continue enjoying the fruits of our world we must travel sustainably – protecting destinations and communities are in the heart of travel.
Here are a few (emphasis on few) ways to become a more conscious traveller:
- Support travel agencies that have a sustainability agenda.
- Support large or small businesses that widely benefit the surrounding local community.
- Know the back-story of the food you choose to consume.
- Properly dispose of waste and reuse what you can.
- Not all eco-friendly initiatives may be as eco-friendly as they seem. Always read up on an initiative before you choose to support it and demand answers where substantial significant information may be lacking.
- Always keep an open-mind and show the utmost respect towards different cultures.
- Photos are wonderful. However, please remember to ask beforehand.