In the last decade or so, we've finally heard activists speak up and call everyone to action – Planet Earth is seriously suffering, and it's up to us to prevent further damage as much as we can. Apart from the eco-conscious living, such as driving hybrid cars, recycling, not using plastic bags, using LED lights and/or solar powered energy systems, etc. ethical tourism (i.e. the way we behave when we travel) is one of the best ways for us to make a long-lasting positive impact on our planet.
If you are a passionate traveller and you do feel the need to help the environment, we are listing a few top reasons for you to expand your understanding of why embracing responsible travel is the best thing you can do for yourself and the environment:
Booking a luxurious suite with a pool and five-star service definitely is tempting but will it really inspire you to see anything of the country that you are visiting, except that pool you are sitting by 24/7? Are you getting connected with the locals or are you only mingling with the staff who are bringing you fresh drinks every hour or so? Exactly.
Responsible travel is more immersive and authentic, and it often treats you to unforgettable adventures and exhilarating places, while helping you meet people you normally wouldn't even pay attention to. As a traveller, by buying at the local store instead of a supermarket you are supporting locally-owned businesses and helping the local community thrive. Plus, as these days eco resorts have been actively expanding, booking yourself a suite at any of those resorts instead of the hyped-up ones. You are not only getting a fantastic, comfortable experience, but helping the local community and living as one with nature. Camping is also amazing (in terms of environmental preservation) and it works perfectly if you are the outdoors type.
Teaching your children to appreciate real things and learn about nature is one of the best things you can do for their upbringing and the environment. Let your kids experience the beauty of environmentally-conscious living by signing them up for nature-oriented trips through well-organized schoolies in 2018, or go as a family together and experience the glorious nature of exotic destinations like Fiji, Cambodia, Antalya and many more.
You are helping nature
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be crazy about nature-based activities to a) care for the environment or b) participate in preserving nature. Responsible travel means sightseeing on foot or a bike instead of a car/bus, accompanied by local tourists who earn a living by showing foreigners around. Again, you are investing in the local economy, you are exploring the beauties of the city without polluting the environment all the while immersing yourself in the city's sounds, smells, colours and flavours.
With the environmental awareness that's been gradually getting the attention it always deserved come benefits like national parks opening up for visits and getting adapted to environmentally-friendly sightseeing. In Australia alone, a range of national parks have been attracting both local and international tourists. By honouring the beauty before you, you are actually spreading a very positive vibe about your mission and actively fighting for an honourable cause, especially if you are inviting people to come join you.
You get immersed in the local culture
There's something incredibly exotic about being accepted by another culture as one of their own. When you are travelling responsibly, you get to feel just that – being a part of everything that's going on in front and around you.
Instead of looking for McDonald's or any other globally-known food chains next time you are hungry, seek local food markets, local ingredients and eateries. Avoid processed and pre-packed food. Go out and buy fresh food from local vendors– you'll be helping the environment and the locals. Think about it - is there anything as wonderful as getting the (local) produce at the farmer's market, trying the delicious food from a street stall or making friends with locals and being invited to their home for a meal? We say there isn't!