When I was a student, we had many lectures and seminars on sustainable tourism and this is a concept that is still hugely relevant and that we can all consider when travelling.
Firstly, what is sustainable tourism? Well, it is about creating a positive impact on the place you are visiting through the economy, environment, and society. This post is going to provide 5 main tips that I have learned from my course and put into practice when travelling myself.
Searching for Accommodation
Using large booking sites may generally save us money but it can cost accommodation providers a lot to feature on aggregator websites in the first place. In the past, I have found a hotel online and have called them directly which has resulted in a lovely room with a view for the same price as a general room on a comparison site, due to the accommodation provider retaining a larger part of the fee.
Keep it Local
When travelling it is nice to get a real understanding of local culture by dining and shopping in store and restaurants owned by locals, but also where the food and products served are sourced locally.
This can require research but nowadays it is easier than ever before, you can simply ask your accommodation provider or the restaurant where their products come from before deciding to eat or shop there. By ensuring produce is from local providers and spending time in places owned by locals you are helping the local economy, rather than giving money to large chain restaurants or stores.
For example when in Sicily we ate in restaurants that advertised fresh products sourced from the local area, and you may find many businesses use this as a selling point.
In Your Hotel
You may not be able to control the way a hotel works but there are some things you can do to assist in sustainability, here are some ideas below:
- Put your towels away once used and do not leave them lying around or in the bath after every wash, as they will be washed every day unnecessarily. Instead, consider using them a couple of times before leaving them out to be cleaned;
- This is an obvious one, but turn off anything you are not using such as lights in rooms you are not in, and the television;
- Be mindful when using the A/C, consider opening the doors if you are in the room, or finding a shaded area to relax if you are tired of the heat;
- On days you do not need the room to be changed or cleaned leave the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door to avoid unnecessary cleaning.
When at your destination think of alternative transport options such as bikes, hikes, and buses. Again, this is something to consider before choosing your accommodation location as you should ensure you are close to a train/bus station or within walking distance to local amenities, alternatively look at cycling routes.
When in France I try to cycle as they have brilliant routes, compared to the UK anyway! This is the perfect way to get around in cities and small towns to decrease your impact on the environment.
If you do use a taxi then try tipping your driver, as in many countries the income is not great and this could be direct profit for their wage.
You can recycle in many ways and not just by placing things in a recycle bin, here are some simple ideas:
- Reuse plastic water bottles – simple!
- Give any maps or brochures you no longer need to other tourists, or return them to reception/tourist office;
- If you plan on throwing old clothes or cheap clothes away to make room for new items, ask around for places you may be able to take them for others to make use of;
- If you have leftover toiletries, take them home.
These are easy things to do and I hope you will consider doing them on your next trip. I am sure there are other things you could suggest and I am interested to hear what you do to help with sustainability please share below 👇👇