Our Journey To Become More Sustainable Travelers
Negative Impact of Tourism
Erika and I have been frequent travellers for many years. Combined, we’ve covered pretty much every corner of the world and been lucky to discover much of it together as well. We love traveling, it is a huge part of us and our discussions often goes “Where should we go next?”.
The problem is, traveling may not necessarily be the best thing you can do for the environment. Take flying for example, this is one of the biggest polution sinners out there. Plus, lately negative effects of tourism have started showing through overtourism – Basically, there are way more tourists than what a destination can handle. This to the point that it has started damaging nature, the environment and local communities. We’ve even seen stories recently of governments closing down some of the most popular tourist islands in the world entirely in Thailand and the Philippines to improve the way it’s being managed and allow nature to rebuild itself.
Positive Impact of Tourism
That said, there are also plenty of examples that tourism can make a positive difference. At the destinations you visit, if done right, your visit can actually make a huge positive difference. Through traveling, you can help people out of poverty, help the environment, ensure ancient cultures are preserved and much more. The question is how? Some important questions to consider are; Where to go? How to prepare? How to get there? How to act when at the destination? And what about after the trip, what can i do then?
Sustainability and Tourism
For the longest time, I’ve become increasingly more interested in global warming and sustainability as many others these days. I have been wondering what I can do more and how to be a more sustainable traveller. To the point of asking if at all possible to travel and still care about the environment and global warming? I sincerely believe there is a way to do both, and decided to use our decision to go travel for a year to learn more about it.
I have worked with sustainability before within several other industries and know quite well what it is. However, when focusing on tourism I wasn’t too sure. I had plenty of questions though, things like: “Can my knowledge from other industries easily be applied on travel and tourism? Is it easy or difficult to travel more sustainably? What are my options? How do you travel more sustainably? Where do I start? How do i book a sustainable vacation?…
Learning about Sustainability in Tourism
So, first things first, I had to learn a lot more about what sustainable tourism is and how to become a more sustainable traveller. So one of the first things I did, apart from generally just reading as much as possible about sustainable travel, was to join a training course in sustainable tourism with the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council). The GSTC is the global organization that defines what sustainable travel means and sets the standard for what is required to be certified in sustainable tourism. A bit like what FSC is for wood, GSTC is for tourism. I will talk more about them and how to become certified within tourism in a different article. That course helped me get the foundation in place and better understand what sustainability in tourism really means.
Now, our plan is that as we travel and learn more about sustainable travel, we will try to improve the way we travel to be more sustainable. As with most new things, it will take time. We are where we are and im sure we will come to realize things we should have done differently in the past. Thats the whole point though and that as you learn you use that new knowledge to improve. I’m sure some will point out the the irony in traveling full time and at the same time wanting to help the environment. But I truly believe there is a way to do both and I am keen to learn how.
Sharing our Experience
I believe there are others who wants to know how they can travel more sustainably. But not everyone may have the time or possibility or interest in doing a lot of research to learn how. We are by no means experts and do not claim to be. But, we hope that by sharing our journey from knowing little to exploring this topic ourselves others can relate, learn and grow with us and I’m sure teach us a thing or two as well!
The best learning comes through experience and learning with others. So, we would love to hear from you – What do you think, your experiences, questions you have that we didn’t answer, and more. So please add your comments and questions to our articles or reach out directly through email. We are happy to get a discussion going.