Sustainable tourism, Are we ready?
Have you ever heard of the concept of Ecotourism? You might have heard about eco fashion or slow food, but what about tourism? Is it possible to be a sustainable traveler? Travel is one of the most exiting experience ever, but the way we travel now has changed in many ways since the last decades. Globalisation has impacted travel in such a way that almost everyone in the world apart from third world countries is now able of travelling and having holidays at least once a year. However, the impact of these travelling experience has costed a high carbon footprint. According to the Carbon Footprint Ltd:
“The travel sector accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions*. As this sector is set to grow at 4% per annum, emissions need to reduce and experts say that carbon offsetting will have to increase to help compensate.”
Everybody wants to travel the world, to visit different countries and to explore different cities. Besides, tourism is the highest source of income in many countries in the world. Instead of ban tourism, there should be a correct management of the tourism industry in order to decrease the negative impact of tourism in the world. Tourism has become one of the most dangerous threats in our planet, not just causing a big cost in the natural resources, but also to the different ancient places that people use to visit. According to the Guardian “Tourists in front of the ruined Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru. Thousands of people annually visit the site. Tourists arrive by helicopter, train and foot and signs of erosion are evident. Rubbish and pollution threatens the biodiversity of the region along the Inca roads leading to the site”
In any case, there are some positive effects on tourism (though not so many as negative!) For example, tourism money is sometimes invested in preserving the local heritage, in improving infrastructure, in providing better local facilities for the new incomers. Besides, some towns commit in better leisure facilities, organising social events and therefore a better lifestyle for the local people. The interaction with tourists is also very positive for locals to be familiar with other cultures. All in all, tourism has reach a level of pollution that has exceed the levels permitted, like greenhouse gases from aviation, deforestation, littering, and environmental deterioration. Some places in the world has come to a point to “close” islands in order to help the ecosystem to regenerate, as an example in Maya Bay and Ko Pi Pi Islands in Thailand. “The closure plans are designed to protect corals damaged attributed to human activities, as a result of sea anchor deployment indiscriminately causing damage to the bay floor, as well as any remaining corals.” (Puketdivetours)
Tourism should head to a more sustainable approach. Travelling should has more sustainable tourism activities. Travellers need to help and support local communities and environments while avoiding any negative impacts their visit might bring.
Is there anything that we can do about that? Yes, we do! To begin with, we can start with a very simple change: the way we usually travel.
Reduce the carbon footprint using public transportation or bike whenever is possible. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid taking the plane, if you want to travel overseas. But, it is important to know that comparing rail with road and air transport it has been demonstrate that the train is much more sustainable, whether in terms of CO2 emissions, energy consumption, use of space.
Find hotels and accommodations that are locally owned, much better that big hotels chains.
Only pack biodegradable products in your suitcase.
Avoid single used plastic everywhere!
Fill your toilet bag with soap bars, bamboo toothbrush, biodegradable toothpaste and everything that leaves the less trash wherever you go.