Economic development, social development and environmental protection are some of the primary Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Tourism creates a balance between social, economic, cultural and environmental aspects of tourism and reduces its negative impacts on them. It addresses the challenge of maintaining balance between the consumption by a rapidly expanding population and the limited natural resources available. As the world is becoming more and more aware of the threats faced due to climate change and global warming, sustainable and green travel is becoming a more preferred and popular option.

The foremost principles of sustainability with reference to the tourism industry consist of meeting the expectations of the tourists as well as local communities without causing any damage to the ecosystems and preservation of the environment. The industry and tourists ought to be aware and respect the culture, traditions, economics of the local communities they adhere to and explore ways to benefit the natural environment.

Following are a few ways by which the tourism industry and tourists can help protect and conserve environment:

Financial grants

They can make monetary contributions directly to local inhabitants to improve their economy, education, medical facilities and for environment preservation activities.

Prudent environmental management

The tourism industry should be aware of the local natural environment and resources and should accordingly make strategies to not only minimize the negative impact of its operations, but plan to improve and contribute towards development of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Promoting environmental awareness

Environmental awareness amidst the tourism industry and local inhabitants helps to minimise pollution and global warming. They should be motivated to shift to renewable energy sources like solar panels, use more products which can be reused or recycled, avoid single usable plastic products and start a composting and recycling program in hotels, resorts and communities. 

Eco-friendly green travel 

As people are becoming conscious towards environment protection they are striving for a sustainable lifestyle. For green travellers the vacations or holidays are planned in a way that minimizes their carbon footprint.

Here are some practical steps eco-friendly travelers can take to limit the potential harm to the environment:

  1. Transportation method – Fly less

Approximately 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are caused by air transportation each year, according to a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

One should fly less and plan more often to travel by train or car to nearby areas. As one is more familiar with the language, culture and communities, they can travel slow, unwind at ease and contribute more to the local economy.

  1. Stay at an eco-friendly place

The tourism industry and tourists are becoming conscious towards the environment, leading to more accommodation options that promote responsible tourism. A growing number of hotels and resorts are embracing organic, eco-friendly practices, whether it’s solar panels, B&Bs using seasonal produce, or camp-sites with composting toilets.

Besides they,

– ensure that electricity, heat, and cooling are used responsibly,

– conserve water,

– built in stable, non-flooding locations without damaging ecosystems,

– organise beach/forest cleanups to promote environmental practices.

  1. Sustainable eating 

Most of the greenhouse gases emitted each year are a result of what we eat, so what you eat while traveling is crucial if you want to leave a lighter footprint. 

Usually, eating vegetarian or vegan is an eco-friendly sustainable form of having food. Meat and dairy products have a big impact on climate change. One should prefer chicken or sustainably sourced seafood food in case of non-vegetarian urge. However, having tofu, nuts etc are better eco-friendly options.

Restaurants should procure local produce or from their own kitchen gardens. Use of renewable energy and zero food waste should be targeted for.

  1. Choose a sustainable travel destination

The eco-friendliness of some destinations can be determined by some indicators. Consider a vacation spot where you can eat more local food, stay at a guesthouse rather than a major hotel chain, and take small tours instead of large groups. Choosing a place where you don’t have to drive everywhere and where you can take public transportation is also a good idea.

  1. Carbon conscious travel tips

– turn off hotel room lights before leaving 

– turn off your computer 

– unplug electronic, electric items and mobile phones when not in use

– take short showers 

– buy locally produced food and products 

– carry cloth bag

– carry reusable water bottles 

– reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible especially plastics 

  1. Explore locals parks and protected areas

Our planet’s natural resources and biodiversity are synonymous with the gardens, parks, marine sanctuaries, and other protected areas. To preserve these places and animals, many countries charge entrance fees, operator permits etc. There are more than 8 billion people who visit protected areas worldwide every year, and they spend about $850 billion on them. The funds thus provided contribute to the preservation of these lands while also providing local communities with income.

Tourism has the potential to immensely benefit the natural ecosystems if all members of the industry and responsible green travellers are constantly engaged in environmental protection and conservation.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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