Sustainable travel. How the industry greens up and why is it interesting
Tips | 26.05.2020
The travel industry affects the world greatly: from nature to social and economic relations. This entails different environmental consequences, therefore, with an increase in the awareness of the society, the trend for sustainable travel began to actively develop in the industry.
What is ecotourism?
Ecotourism means travels aimed at a positive impact of people on the environment. It is also called green tourism, responsible tourism, etc. This definition is by no means new; it originated in the second half of the 80s. But at this particular time, when tourism is becoming more widespread, this type of recreation has become popular.

Despite all the difficulties, travel industry is considered one of the fastest growing economic sectors. Tourism provides more than 230 million jobs worldwide, and the number of travelers is increasing by tens of millions every year. For many countries, tourism industry is one of the main sources of income. But at the same time, large growth entails consequences for the environment and communities. Therefore, the trend for sustainable travel seems logically sound, and it was discussed back in 2012 at the United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro.
So, what does ecotourism mean?After decades, there appeared no clear definition, as each researcher applies his own meanings and expands the concept. Responsible tourism may not necessarily be associated with nature, but it is also not only the choice of ecological modes of transport. This is a combination of factors, but the main thing is to be helpful to the world around while traveling. The main points are described on the website of the international ecotourism society, if you still want to structure the concept.
Why is this interesting?
The idea that you can travel not only for your own impressions, but at the same time to be helpful to society and nature, seems incredible. And ecotourism is just about that. Imagine that you can not only have a look at a new place, but also take part in an important project. For example, to help a local restaurant, volunteer in a nature reserve (if there is a lot of time for vacation) or go on a historical excursion, the proceeds of which are sent to help social minorities.

Big companies are also joining the idea of sustainability: air carriers, hotel chains, etc. For example, Royal Caribbean reduces its carbon emissions on cruise ships, KLM is working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution, and uses recycled materials in its meal service packaging. This extends sustainable tourism as an idea and makes it a global trend.
How to participate?
Another reason why ecotourism is an interesting way to travel is the combination of interesting and useful experience, immersion in an authentic way of life.

For example, volunteering. If you have plenty of time, you can, for example, go to the island of Tenerife to help grow crops on a local farm or, if you view yourself as a teacher, you can go to teach English in Peru. During such trips, you will not only do something useful for society or nature, but also find yourself in non-tourist places, immerse yourself in local culture, meet new people (local and other volunteers).
To engage in ecotourism, it is not necessary to participate in large projects, you can take small steps: join nature protection groups, visit excursions during which you can help communities or nature. For example, in Africa, you can help chip the rhinos to further track the movement of animals in order to preserve the population. In Prague, you can attend a master class on the manufacture of handmade notebooks, 100% of the funds go to the relief roll for creative people with mental and physical disabilities.
It's not necessary to choose a particular destination to take part in that kind of activity. Many excursions are often organized in popular cities. But if the goal itself is to combine travel with useful activities, now there are projects that arrange special ecotours, and travel agencies help travelers find locations.
Sustainable tourism is a great way to start traveling more consciously, if you want to be useful, avoid crowded tourist places and immerse yourself in local culture for real.
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