By Goodnews Buekor
Travelling is such an exciting experience, but have you ever imagined or thought about the outcome travelling has on the world’s environment and, consequently, on that region’s inhabitants? While travelling can be fun and expose you to new places, ideologies, and concepts, it can negatively impact our wonderful planet.
The International Tourism Society defines ecotourism as ” responsible travel to natural regions that preserves the habitats, maintain the inhabitants’ wellbeing, and lets tourists become enlightened about the provincial community.
” Sustainable travel has numerous advantages: it boosts the tourist destination economy, preserves nature and wildlife, and relieves the concern of overcrowding on popular tourist destination,” said Namrata Bhawnani, co-founder of Green Travels and Living Blog, Ecophiles. “Tourists can also enjoy a more substantial experience.”
This article highlights eight amazing eco-friendly practices that could help you become a better traveller.
1) Get details about your accommodation and tour operator
Meticulously choosing where you plan to stay and the tour guides who will show you around ahead of time are helpful steps an eco-friendly tourist can take. Experts suggest analysing their policies and sustainability ideas.
“What kind of energy do they use? How do they get their electrical power, from wind or solar,” said Jonathan Brunger, General Manager of Adventure Travel Company, Adventure Life.” It is also essential to consider who the staff is and if they are indigenes of the community.
Still, travellers should be mindful of companies or hotels that barely talk about sustainable culture using advertising and marketing to minimise negative outcomes on the environment without carrying out this practice.
2) Buy souvenirs and crafts that are produced locally
Although locally made items may be more costly than imports, opting to purchase goods in the tourist destination help keep money circulating in the local economy and directly impacts the locals’ wellbeing.
According to Green Global Travel, goods or imported items have an enormous carbon footprint, thus negatively impacting the environment.
3) Go for train, avoid the plane
You will agree with me that planes cause a good amount of pollution. An excellent way to curb the impact of plane pollution is to board a train instead. Trains utilise significantly reduced fuel and have considerably less impact on the environment than planes.
One recent study showed that you cut down carbon dioxide emissions by half when you use trains instead of planes. Remarkable, right?
Apart from the fact that this practice saves cost, you get to enjoy your trip even more as you will get a better view of the environment’s landscape.
4) Avoid trespassing
When hiking around parks or reservation areas, be careful not to trespass. Stay on the designated path. The marks and trails protect some plant species as they may be highly delicate and will not regrow when people step on them.
For instance, Bluebonnets grow underground for a very long time to muster the strength to sprout. If people keep trampling on them, they will never grow, and that’s not so fantastic!
5) Choose public transport
Ride-Sharing is a better sustainable travel choice whenever possible. Using public transport, walking, or even biking is helpful for the environment, but it is also very economical.
Experts suggest that you opt for non-stop flights, when possible, as it utilises reduced fuel. Green Global Travel recommends flying with airlines registered with the International Air Transport Association, as they provide carbon offset programs to compensate for the aircraft’s emissions.
6) Limit waste and stay away from plastic
With an alarming rate of over 1,500 water bottles that are consumed every second and approximately 91 per cent of plastic that are not recycled, according to research, plastic is a matter of great concern.
Experts recommend keeping off products wrapped in plastic completely to help keep waste in check. Also, coming along with reusable water bottles, and avoiding plastic water bottles, can be significantly helpful for the environment.
7) Have regard for wildlife
Local wildlife and plants in most countries, even the United States, are conserved through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fiona (CITES).
According to the World Wildlife Fund, people are advised and strongly cautioned not to purchase items produced from animals like elephants, birds, and snakes when travelling. Selling and buying these souvenirs are illegal and highly prohibited. This act jeopardises the future of these animals whose existence is already at risk.
Experts also said that it is essential not to touch or even feed these animals as this may get accustomed to them and subsequently lead to an attack.
8) Donate to provincial charities
Since ecotourism is about being conscious of the environment and taking social and economic responsibilities, you are promoting the social and economic parts of that by giving to local charities.
You are not just giving back to the local community but also assisting local families.
While doing this may involve you coming out from your purse and giving to the right organization, you can rest assured that your money will serve its purpose when you give to the right organization. The fulfilment is just out of the world.
Whether for a business meeting or an adventure, as you go travelling, remember to keep these in mind. Be an eco-friendly traveller!