By Leontien Aarnoudse
Can travelling change the world? Unless you are a celebrity like Madonna, or a famous politician like Bill Clinton, it’s sometimes hard to see whether responsible choices have significant effect at all. But let’s put this in another perspective: What will happen, if all those millions of people that trot the globe every year change their behaviour, consume more responsible and respect the environment. Wouldn’t that make a difference? (more…)
There are few among us who wouldn’t like getting away for a relaxing holiday on a sunny beach far away from the daily routine. The dream is even more attractive if we feel that our holiday can contribute to sustainable development in the local community of our destination. Travelling creates possibilities for development, but as a tourist you need to be aware of your traveling habits and their effect on the environment.
Travelling has a huge impact on local communities. It can stimulate local development, employment and better preservation of cultural heritage. Tourism can also have a positive impact on the preservation of nature and biodiversity. When tourism becomes an important source of income for a government or local communities, it is important they also take steps to protect the nature and their cultural treasures.
However, even when appropriate laws and regulations are in place, the rise of mass tourism can sometimes do more harm than good: Buildings of foreign hotels that destruct unique ecosystems, financial leakages out of the destination country, hot spots overwhelmed by trash and tourists who don’t respect local cultural values or authentic wild life and so on.
As a traveller, you can make a difference and choose for sustainable options so you contribute to local development or preservation of nature.
Here are some suggestions to get started:
- Be aware of cultural differences, respect local, cultural habits, norms and values as a visitor of the country
- Buy your souvenirs in local stores, at markets from local people. Shopping in international stores can be done at home…
- Use local public transport as much as possible
- Eat, drink and sleep in accommodations owned by local people, so their income is going to the community instead of multinationals or big companies
- Be open to the local communities, if you want to make a portrait of one of them, ask them before taking the picture
- Clean up your trash (like your mum taught you when you were little ;-)
- Travelling by airplane gives you the opportunity to see the world, but we know it’s not that good for our carbon footprint. So if possible, try to avoid the airplanes as much as possible
- Admire wildlife, but try to leave the animals and nature in peace…
If you care about this planet and want to continue exploring treasures of nature and culture, travel with respect.