Being mindful of the environment is just as important when traveling as it is in our day-to-day lives back home. The tourism sector has an environmental, cultural and economic impact that can be felt around the world. The goal of ecological tourism is to minimize the negative effects traveling can have on local communities, and aims to leave a positive footprint. All of our actions have a greater impact than we imagine, and self-awareness is key to being an ecological tourist. Simple decisions, like using buses and public transportation rather than driving individual cars can make a big difference.
|• When selecting your destination, it’s always a good idea to learn about the local culture. Are there limited natural resources, such as water or electricity? What resources are naturally abundant, and are there any policies or local recommendations about how to use these?
• Try doing business with local shops, restaurants and markets rather than larger chains whenever you can so that the money you spend stays in the local community.
• Naturally, it’s very important to choose the most eco-friendly means of transportation as traffic is a major source of air pollution. Buses are the best option, producing far fewer carbon emissions than airplanes and carrying ten times more passengers than a normal car.
• Once you reach your destination, be sure to visit museums, indulge in regional cuisine and even check out the local environmental conservation premises if you can. Visiting these places contributes to the maintenance of the spaces and projects developed by the community.
• Throughout your trip, behave as you would in your own home. Take care of everything as if it were your own; close the windows, and turn off the lights and air conditioning before leaving your accommodation, and do not waste water.
Ecological tourism not only helps the environment as a whole, but also the local communities you’re visiting, and is a great way to gain a more authentic experience during your travels.