WHAT DOES “SUSTAINABLE TOURISM” REALLY MEAN?
For some, it might conjure up eco-friendly camel safaris in the Gobi Desert, or maybe it makes you dream of sunbathing in a Mauritian resort.
From backpacking to opulent and extravagant tourism, the definition of “sustainable tourism” is a bit fuzzy.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s holistic definition of sustainable tourism is perhaps a good starting point, and we believe it aligns with our own zero waste goal:
WHY IS SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IMPORTANT?
Besides making sure we don’t forget to practice our usual sustainable habits while on vacation, why should sustainable travel/tourism be a special case?
Between 2000 and 2015, the number of people traveling around the world nearly doubled. Today, nearly 1.2 billion people a year board an international flight. This figure is expected to increase to 1.8 billion by 2030
Of course, all of this travel comes at a huge environmental and social cost. This is the main reason why the United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development .
SO HOW CAN WE TRAVEL SUSTAINABLY?
By applying small habitual gestures with the objective of reducing the impact of travel. These simple gestures are for example:
Likewise, we tend to need to have water available when we are on the move. This is why it is imperative for us to always bring a washable water bottle while on the move.
We’ve talked about this before in our fight for a Zero Waste lifestyle and it bears repeating. In France alone (the world’s largest producer of bottled water), some 6 billion plastic water bottles were produced
In many countries around the world, there is not even a way to recycle plastic coffee cups and bottles, let alone plastic in general. Tourism is a major waste generator for local communities.
More than 30 member airlines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have set up a program to offset carbon emissions linked to travel.
We found it quite easy to join one of these programs when purchasing tickets on the airline’s website. If you can, invest in offsets that avoid carbon emissions or replace fossil fuels with renewables.
Refuse headphones offered on planes
Well, it won’t have a huge impact compared to the points discussed above, but every little effort counts. We thought that was a pretty cool idea, since it doesn’t require any effort.
It always irritates us that airlines provide horrible cheap headphones of the worst quality for EVERY FLIGHT. We are not sure what happens to these pieces of plastic, but we have little hope that they will be recycled.
How to Make Sustainable Tourism? 10 Tips for an Eco-Travel
We bought a super handy little universal travel adapter that fits almost any local outlet in the world. No need to look for the right connection with the different plugs of the wall outlets (which is always very painful!).
It also saves us from having to own a different one for each trip – a huge saving in time, money and plastic!