Today, we are travelling on leisure a lot more than before. At the same time concerns for the environment are increasing and there is a need to map our carbon footprint. The solution lies in green travel or eco-tourism.
Green tourism or sustainable tourism is about being aware of the ecological impact your holiday travel will have on any place you visit, and about minimising detrimental ecological effects and respecting the environment at every level.
Awareness first: Green travel starts with awareness of the concept. This awareness has to be at every level; from the mode transport best suited for the environment, the local culture, cuisine and economy. Taking care of all of these contributes to making you a good eco-traveller.
How to plan travel: Going on foot is clearly the most eco-friendly way to travel, but it's impractical for long distances and over rough terrain. Airplanes and cars leave the biggest carbon footprint, hence opt for them sparingly. Use public transport and bicycles as they are one of the best ways not only to explore a place but also to soak in its living culture.
Knowing people and culture: One of the most important things to do when visiting a new place is to respect the local culture. Learn as much as you can about it beforehand. Apart from increasing your curiosity about the place you are about to visit, it teaches you to appreciate different kinds of people and treat them the way you would want to be treated. This also broadens your understanding of peoples of the world and their many ways. This habit will help you pick the perfect holiday souvenir too.
Contribute to local economy: Another key aspect of green travel is giving back to the local economy. Registering with a fancy tourism company does very little for local communities. Instead, buy local produce, hire local tour guides, investigate businesses you may be patronising on your trip to find out how much they contribute to the local economy to ensure that your experience is more authentic.
Tread lightly on the landscape: Ensure that wherever you go, your visit does not extract a cost from the fragile landscape. One of the best ways to do this is to view the terrain as a crime scene you need to flee. Leave no trace yourself. When you are done camping, clear out all the rubbish and dispose of it in the designated area.
None of these is possible unless the traveller takes the initiative to be responsible and eco-friendly. There are several websites and organisations which advise travellers on how they can make a
difference. It has been stated by reports that by 2020, around 1.5 billion people are expected to travel every year. So, the next time you plan your vacation, ensure that it is responsibly executed.