The world is a small place, and with so many flights jetting people around the world, it’s really only getting smaller by the day. In fact, there are an average of 9,728 planes carrying over a million passengers in the air at any given time, reports aviation data company FlightAware.
When you really take a moment to think about that statistic, however, you might feel a little pit in your stomach start to form. Impressive yes, but what is that movement really doing to our planet?
Well, before you go and cancel your next holiday, we have some good news for you – there’s a travel trend that is all about embracing more ethically minded travelling. It’s called sustainable tourism!
Sustainable tourism simply helps make it a more thoughtful way to travel.
What is sustainable tourism?
Travel is good for the soul, so no one would ever tell you to stop and that’s where sustainable tourism comes in. It encourages travellers to think about the balance between the environmental, economical and socio-cultural aspects at play. When you visit new places, how are you interacting with the people and the culture? Your background actually has a bigger influence on the places you visit than you’d think!
Here’s what the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states as the main objectives of sustainable tourism:
- Appreciate benefits and problems that are a result of tourism both socially and environmentally;
- Develop awareness of how tourism can improve welfare of people, culture and nature;
- Promote commitment to forms of tourism that practice sustainability and;
- Plan ways to teach others about sustainable tourism.
Tourism will almost undoubtedly always be a major industry worldwide, one that we would never want to get rid of, so sustainable tourism simply helps make it a more thoughtful way to travel.
How can you embrace sustainable tourism
Firstly, did you know many airlines offer the option of offsetting the climate impacts of flying? This is where you donate towards a certified scheme that helps reduce global warming – the FBI Travel team can advise you on this.
Next, if you want to start thinking more ethically about accommodation, begin by booking hotels that are making the effort to be more sustainable! For example, hotels like the Hyatt and Jumeirah (two partners of ours) have been recognised as some of the world’s most sustainable establishments. The Hyatt has a plan in place that regularly works on their environmental sustainability strategy of reducing waste and water for the future.
Meanwhile, Jumeirah Vittaveli resort in the Maldives has recently been awarded the Green Globe Certification (which has 349 strict standards that a business must adhere to) and is now a member of Green Globe. They have done little things like using LED light bulbs and switching their plastic bottles to recycled glass, through to using a heat recovery system that powers generators to heat water in order to meet the requirements of the GGC.
Beyond your accommodation, there is still plenty you can do to think sustainable as you travel the world. If you’re renting a car, think electric, or use public transport or hire bikes to get you around town!
Instead of purchasing bottled water, opt for a reusable bottle and, if need be, a filter. When you’re exploring outside, ensure you aren’t disrupting the environment too much – enact a ‘look but don’t touch’ policy and just take a lot of pictures instead. If you’ve brought snacks with you, make sure you aren’t leaving any trash behind, and dispose of recycling or trash responsibly.
When you think about it, there’s a lot you can do to respect the country you’re visiting! If you’re interested in learning more about how you can make your travel plans more sustainable, contact the team at FBI Travel and we’ll help you sort your trip!