What do you seek for when traveling? An escape? A discovery? A reconnection? This is why you shall become a green traveler...
Did you know that tourism is the first industry in the world, employing over 11 million people worldwide, with over 1 billion customers in 2015 and an increasing growth rate. The World Tourism Organization predicts 1.5 billion tourists by 2020. With the increase of tourists from developing countries especially China and the will to reconnect with nature or simply relax when living in ultra mega urbanized and concrete cities.
Travel is often a mean to escape while connecting with other cultures, to stir our curiosity out and simply explore new horizons to des-integrate from a society where everything goes too quick.
So what is being a responsible traveler or green traveler ?
So what is responsible travel? Responsible, green or sustainable by the way, all terms being used in the industry. Green tourism or responsible tourism is tourism that preserves natural resources, which distributes revenues equitably among tour operators and destinations, and finally, that respects the values and culture of the host communities.
Because you want to enjoy a country and a culture while not leaving a trail of waste behind and without damaging the fauna and flora. Because you want to discover and share. Because you want to enjoy unique and authentic experiences and respect the country you are visiting on holiday while helping local people to develop in a sustainable way. This is why it is important to travel sustainably.
Today mass tourism remains the most current way to travel, unfortunately. Tour operators are selling you standard trips with almost nothing that goes back to locals. Similarly all these tours, send tourists in large chains of hotels, providing excursions with environmental unscrupulous partners and not helping local people to develop a more responsible tourism. Responsible travel is the belief that tourism will have, one day, a more neutral or even positive impact.
If you have questions about how you could travel in a more environmentally responsible and more we present our 10 commandments of green traveler or responsible traveler.
1. Thou shalt not wear other cosmetics than biodegradable
Dear responsible green traveler, sunscreens, toothpaste and other cosmetics that are washed out by water are often not cleaned out from the water especially in developing countries. This destroys corals, ecosystems and can cause irreversible damage. So when traveling,and ideally all the time, even at home, use biodegradable products.
2. Thou shalt become a waste collector as often as needed
It sounds like annoying, tedious and somewhat disgusting .But it can save lives … animals lives. So if you see a plastic bag on the beach or a can in the forest, what does it costs you to pick up the waste and put it in the nearest trash can? A simple gesture that really makes the difference. No one enjoys swimming in a sea of plastic bags…
3. Thou shalt use public transport and not taxis and practice cycling or walking
Good for the environment and good for your health !!! In addition, you will probably experience unforgettable adventures via local transport. We spent 6 hours in a Mexican Colectivo with Mayan villagers and I can tell you that I’d gladly do it again, we laughed among chickens running around the bus and kids playing with our backpacks. So take the bus or walk, you will enjoy much more all the places you visit. And you will save more money ! Being a responsible green traveler, can help you save!
4. Thou shalt stay in green and ecological hotels
There are now green labels hotels and Tripadvisor and Booking.com offer filters that allow you to select only hotels anxious to preserve local resources. By choosing green hotels, you will be more confident about the backstage activities of hotels. Indeed most labeled Green Globe hotels support local populations. The green traveler will prefer this type of hotels.
5. Thou shalt honor the wild fauna and flora by not touching it
An error that many tourists do: feed wildlife, picking flora or walk on corals like they were simple rocks. So many acts that seriously damage the environment and harm the local economy. A couple recently thought to do well by bringing a Yellowstone Park baby bison in their car as they thought he was suffering from cold. This baby bison had to be euthanized. Obviously if you see an animal really suffering, it’s best to help, but if you have a doubt, even a tiny one, do not. And do not feed the monkeys or other cute and funny animals. Do not encourage the touristic boats to feed the sharks to attract them, this leads to more attacks along the coast, as sharks are associating humans with food.
Below is the video of a small marmoset in the park next to the sugar-loaf in Brazil that tourists feed constantly, making them quite thieves and dependent on humans to feed them:
6. Thou shalt commit to eat less meat during your vacation
… Or at least try eating labeled meat. In general, in all countries, there are delicious vegetarian local dishes, from street food to restaurants. If you want to eat meat, labeled and local meats are usually the best and have the less impact on the environment. The meat industry is one of the most polluting in the world, thus reducing consumption is not only good for your health but also for the planet.
7. Thou shalt commit not to buy made in China souvenirs and will favor handicrafts
Always favor local crafts, forget the made in China products, you will pay for products that are not worth half. The tee shirts will bleed and lose their shape, the trinkets will break even before you’re back home.
8. Thou shalt ask questions to the tourism institutions about their environmental practices like restaurants and travel partners
We assume that if we want the institutions to change, we must ask the right questions and consume according to their answers. Therefore, asking a restaurant if the meat comes from animals treated well, you will often get reactions of surprise and probably unprepared answers, demonstrating that the origin of the products you eat is not really controlled . And because of this, you will know where you stand and what you eat. The green traveler shall be more careful about his/her choices. After all, usually, when we buy we ask questions about the product to the seller, it’s the same principle here.
9. Thou shalt reduce the number of connecting and favor direct flights
A plane uses more fuel during landings and takeoffs, so the more connections you make, the higher is your carbon footprint.
10. Thou shalt carry much attention to your water consumption, energy and be careful with your waste
It’s not because you pay your night at the hotel that you should leave all the lights on or take baths or 30 minute showers! For your waste, do not think your waste will disappear by itself especially if you let them in the nature! And try not to use non recyclable disposable by reusing your bottle of waters and sorting your waste.
As a responsible traveler or green traveler, I always plan a small trash bag and more especially if we go hiking or go to the beach.
If every tourist decide to travel responsibly, and every traveler becomes a green traveler, tourism would not hurt so much the local environment. Unlike ecotourism, responsible travel is made up of simple things that everyone can do even without necessarily only spend their holidays in nature or helping communities. Sustainable tourism is the future of tourism as it commits everyone to consume more responsibly and respect the country in its whole; with its nature and its people.