By Simran Tandon
Is responsible tourism still a buzz word on the internet or it is actually the need of the hour?
Well, to be honest, responsible tourism is no longer a matter of choice but rather a way of travelling moving forward. Even though we can’t change the way tourism industry operates, we can definitely change how we travel as individuals. This World Tourism Day, let’s explore 5 ways in which we can take a step to become responsible travelers to minimize our impact and give back to the destinations we go to.
1. Choose Sustainable Accommodations
Being responsible travelers does take little work but the first step to get started is by choosing an accommodation that conducts business in a sustainable manner. The easiest way is to check their website and social media to see if they are engaged in either environment conservation or helping the community around them. Many hotels brands like for instance, The H Dubai, are striving to reduce their business impact by working towards the environment conservation, practicing fair-trade, conducting CSR initiatives for the local community and much more. The H Dubai has also been awarded the Green Key Certificate for 2021 by the Emirates Green Building Council for its sustainable initiatives. Hence, look deeper to make a sustainable staying decision.
2. Offset your Carbon Footprint
While planning our travel itineraries, we often lose sight of how it affects the environment. Be it traveling through multiple flights, wasting water & electricity unconsciously or polluting the local environment, our carbon footprint as travelers is immense. Hence, mindfully taking few steps can go a long way! For instance:
– Choose destinations that are closer to home and do not require too many flight transits.
– Instead of taking taxis, explore by walking, cycling or taking public transport.
– Always remember to switch off the lights, air-conditioning, heating and water taps before leaving your hotel rooms.
– Just like in our homes we don’t clean our bedroom linen every day, start saying no to housekeeping for your hotel rooms for short term stays.
– Alongside, why not download a carbon-footprint calculator application on your smartphone so that you can stay mindful while enjoying the destination.
3. Reduce usage of Single-use Plastic
While it may seem a bit challenging looking at the amount of plastic being used around us, as travelers, little steps can go a long way. Here’s how:
– Instead of buying plastic water bottles, replace it with a reusable water bottle that you can keep filling throughout your travel.
– Always carry your own reusable shopping bags rather than accumulating a bunch of shopping bags.
– Having your own set of silverware or reusable cutlery will enable you to say no to plastic cutlery or straws.
– Carry you own toiletries, replace your plastic toothbrushes to bamboo ones or invest in cotton masks, it’s time to start thinking reusable while you pack for your trips.
4. Experience Slow Travel
Don’t we sometimes feel that we need a holiday from a holiday? You will probably agree with me that sometimes our travel itineraries can leave us exhausted. This is because we keep hopping from one destination to another to cover as much as possible in a short period of time. While this looks very attractive, the carbon footprint caused due to fast-paced travel is immense.
Thus, a new mind-set emerging along the lines of sustainability is to indulge in “Slow Travel”. It focuses on experiencing more by doing less. By slowing down your pace, it enables you to experience a destination more deeply and build meaningful connections through local food, people and cultures. It makes you feel more relaxed and connected with yourself by reducing stress levels. Moreover, it’s a budget-friendly way to travel. So, why not choose slow? Because sometimes slowing down can give you unexpected and life-changing experiences too.
5. Be mindful of food waste
Travel industry is one of the largest contributors to the global food wastage challenge. While exploring through food is a must-do during our travels, we need to be mindful about wasting it. Small changes can make a big difference:
– While going for an all-you-can-eat buffets seems tempting, take only enough in your plate that you can finish.
– Another way is to explore through eating in local restaurants which can allow you to control your portions, contribute to local businesses and also give you a taste of their culture.
– Moreover, packing your leftovers in reusable boxes to consume later is always a good idea.
– Pick restaurants that locally and ethically source their produce and replace your packaged food snacks with fresh produce from local markets for a refreshing experience.
As Oscar Wilde once said, “Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets”. Let’s together contribute towards sustainable tourism.