Sustainable tourism is complex and very often we don’t take into consideration the things we can’t see, what unethical and unsustainable practises lurk within the supply-chain? Sustainability is something that affects every part of life, what we do, how we do it and who we use for services. We think about sustainable travel as being green, riding a bike or having a hybrid car, or even car pooling – but what about sustainable holidays? In this blog Vicky Smith from Earth Changers talks about sustainable tourism and sustainability in travel and why you should care.
Why should we care about sustainable tourism?
Sustainability in tourism is complicated because few people know the truth of the sustainability of all the options included – transport, accommodation, energy, water, waste, food provenance, employment…In our last blog for Ethical Brand Directory, we explained what sustainable tourism actually is. In this blog we focus on why it matters and what you can do differently next time you travel. Quite simply, if we don’t take care of the planet – there wont be beautiful places left for us to visit and enjoy. But if we choose to make our travel choices sustainable, we can help protect our planet and preserve all those holiday destinations we wish to see again. Tourism is a huge global industry (roughly 10% of the world’s GDP and employment) which with a little conscious effort, we could all use our global travel as a force for good.
What difference does sustainability in tourism make?
If we don’t care about sustainable travel, we won’t have the positive experiences in these places to see, touch, smell, taste, meet, listen and interact with what’s ‘local’. Without considering sustainability, mass tourism will destroy the places we like to visit: Places will homogenise, lose wildlife and nice environments, people won’t stay or return. They will not be ‘better places to live in and visit’ (the definition for responsible tourism).
Over-populated tourist destinations
Places like Barcelona & Venice are suffering from excessive-tourism, pollution, with locals impacted by the surge of visitors and being forced to move our of their home. Popular tourist destinations are literally selling their souls for ‘more’ tourism instead of focusing on positive tourism. None of us would knowingly want to inflict that upon a community. But sadly our cheap travel thrills continue to fund the very thing that makes our toes curl (in a bad way!). There is good news… we CAN change this. Consumer demand has the power to drive change – together we can #bethechange and make a difference without sacrificing on our holidays.
Sustainable tourism benefits
Sustainable tourism can bring places jobs and industry and is one of the industries best placed to help deliver sustainable development. That’s why the UN named 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. We’ve written a lot about what tourism has got to do with the sustainable development goals, such as ending poverty, providing clean water, sanitation and food, supporting health, education, conservation, marine life and climate change: If you’re interested in knowing more, you can check out our ‘Purpose’ section on the Earth Changers website for more information and examples of how places around the world are supporting their communities.
Using a sustainable travel booking organisation
There are a lot of grass roots initiatives going on for more sustainable tourism, which
Earth Changers showcases in the People and Places sections of our website. Consumer demand is what drives change, but lack of knowledge often means consumers book seemingly eco-freindly trips only to find out they’ve been a victim of greenwashing (where companies use misleading information relating to sustainability) due to its sustainable tourism and travel booking complexity.
This is why Earth Changers exists to help. With our years of knowledge and expertise, we take the hard work out of it and pinpoint the best options for you, in a trustworthy, digestible format. We work closely with the featured suppliers to deliver contextual, transparent content to explain, engage and educate those interested in going beyond the surface, to the heart of the matter, focusing on pioneering work and innovative initiatives. Take a look at our Five for… Retreat, Recharge and Revive for some travel inspiration to match your mood.
Who is considered an earth changer?
It’s not just ‘lodges’ or ‘tour companies’ who are ‘Earth Changers’. Guests who take part in Earth Changers trips are key to the success of our overall goal and creating a truly positive impact. Simply booking with an alternative travel booker, like us – you can enjoy an amazing sustainable holiday of a lifetime – and help change the world – you can become an Earth Changer too! Why not try booking your next trip with us? Our goal is to help create real sustainable options for people to travel and enjoy the world, we want to inspire, educate and create passionate sustainable tourism advocates.
Ethical Brand Directory Guest Blogger
Founder of Earth Changers
Vicky’s worked 20 years in tourism and 10 in sustainable tourism: managing destinations, charity challenges, marketing & ecommerce. She’s a published academic, a qualified safari ranger, a ski and snowboard veteran. She’s all about connection: with people, nature, places & spirituality, as shown by her own sustainable tourism start-up, Earth-Changers.com