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Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

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by Jackie Edwards, editor, researcher and writer 

Sustainable Tourism: Ways Your Trip Can Have a Positive Impact

When we go on holiday to a new place, it is increasingly important to us to learn as much as we can about the local atmosphere and culture. Often, the best part of the trip is when we are able to interact with the people and place in an authentic way.

As the world around us is affected by climate change and transitioning environments, our efforts to travel in a sustainable way become more crucial to the conservation of the beautiful wildlife and sights we encounter. By incorporating sustainability on our holidays, we can do our part in making a positive, ethical impact on local environments and communities.

Impacts of Tourism on the Environment

Unfortunately, as traveling is made easier and more countries develop tourism industries, the environment usually takes a toll. Increasing the need for resources, the consumption percentages of local products and produce, and the use of public transportation often leads to pollution and negative impacts on the ecosystem. Research in sustainable tourism has shown that many places are not equipped to efficiently conserve the environment while maintaining the influx of travelers. For example, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where water is scarce, uses 12 million litres of water per year. In the Caribbean, where tourists love to snorkel and scuba-dive, around two-thirds of coral reefs are in danger. These facts should be frightening to us; our trips, while seemingly fun for the whole family, may be damaging the world that contains our fondest holiday memories.

Photo: Dawid Zawila

Steps You Can Take to Further Sustainability

The facts of the changing environment should be kept in mind when planning your next holiday, and thankfully there are a number of solutions for a sustainable trip.

The best way to further your sustainable efforts is to begin at home. Teaching conservation to your family while at home and on holiday will spawn the next generation of sustainable travelers. By playing simple environmental games, like I-Spy to learn about new species on your trip, or trash pick-up on the beach, you can inspire your children to maintain a healthy environment. Also, it’s great fun for the whole family to keep a list or tally of all the new animals you may encounter on holiday. Your children will be the first ones to the beach in the morning, looking for tiny crabs and seagulls to add to the list. 

In addition to sharing sustainable knowledge with the family, it is important to make sure that your holiday is planned with the environment in mind, in terms of the residence you book, the activities you organize, and the items you pack. Avoiding all-inclusive resorts and restaurants that don’t use sustainable animal products are small ways you can positively impact the environment. Also, spend an afternoon volunteering in a beach clean-up or at the community park instead of going on a boat tour or shopping. This will teach your family the importance of sustainability in every new environment you encounter together.

Sustainable tourism is increasingly important in our world of shifting climates. Knowing the small steps you and your family can take while on holiday will leave a great impact in the long run, helping both the local community and conservation efforts worldwide.

Read more about teaching children the importance of fish and wildlife conservation.

Read A Complete Guide to Travel for Seniors

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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Don’t let a picture book become the only memory of our Heritage

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3 September 2015: CEO Blog – By the time you have read this article I will have added Slovenia to my list of countries visited. This will be my 66th country visited towards my goal of 100+.

One of my greatest pleasures when travelling is to visit heritage and cultural sites. Even when I travel for business to a new destination, I always try my best to squeeze in some time to go explore and find little treasures that will create ever-lasting memories in my mind.

I find myself very fortunate for all the wonders that I have seen and hope that my children and future generations will be as privileged as I have been. This is why every time I read about a heritage site being destroyed by radicals, a force of nature, or voluntarily by governments or the private sector to create space for modern structures, it deeply saddens me. I believe we all have a duty to protect and preserve our heritage so that our past can be remembered and shared with the world.

To the developing countries that have colonial heritage sites and to those who have ancient towns or relics, I pray that you take the necessary steps to preserve what travellers may have not yet seen or enjoyed. I pray you recognise the value of these historical assets that your ancestors have left. I pray that you have the wisdom to see that these may offer you an opportunity to build a tourism economy that would sustain communities and preserve peace.

To those who purposely destroy our heritage for financial gain, hate or any other reasons, I have pity on you for not recognising how much you are hurting your country and communities.

I have an old picture book representing English colonial “Maison Bourgeoise” from my hometown of Montreal that I cherish very much. The book features houses that were for most part destroyed to make space for shopping malls and office towers. I know that many fellow residents of Montreal now regret not having preserved them. They now realise that they could have converted them into museums, hotels, restaurants, luxury shops, etc., which would have helped increase the attractiveness of the city and increase tourism.

There are many destinations around the world that have experienced the same thing and so many that are currently facing the very same dilemma. I hope that governments and private sector organisations involved in tourism recognise the historical assets they hold and that together they are able to protect them for future generations to enjoy.

We at PATA are prepared to help in any way we can and offer the full backing of the organisation where and when necessary.

Let us preserve our past and ensure that dusty picture books do not become the only memory we leave to our future generations.

 

Till next time,

 

Mario Hardy

Chief Executive Officer

Pacific Asia Travel Association

 

 

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