Traveling is one of the greatest pleasures in life and one of the most transformative experiences anyone can have. However, tourism tends to get a bad reputation when travelers disrespect the places they visit and act as if they’re at an amusement park. Being able to travel comes with the responsibility of being aware of your visit’s impact and the importance of being reciprocal with the people, environment and culture that are welcoming you.
Know the history of the places you visit, the people and natural wealth.
Doing a little research on the history of the culture and places you visit is not only something that can satisfy you intellectually but will also help you value and respect your destination.
For example, if you visit a destination in Mexico and seek information on indigenous communities and their history, you will know how important is their relationship with earth and its sustainability. Respect starts with knowledge: you’ll think twice before acting like those tourists who get too comfortable and act like they own the place.
Reflect on the impact of your visit and reduce it.
Tourism is, pardon the cliché, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps develop the local economy. On the other, it tends to have an environmental and cultural impact, especially when green areas turn into real estate or when local production practices suddenly become obsolete.
Being aware of personal sustainability will give you an idea of the practices that damage the environment of the place that is hosting you. If you want tips on how to measure and improve your personal sustainability, download our PerSus App here.
Support local and sustainable businesses.
These past years have imposed a huge challenge on local economies. Worldwide financial crises and health issues have reduced tourism. This hasn’t affected large corporations and hotel chains but it has had a significant impact on local producers and sellers, as well independent hotels and restaurants. When planning for your next trip, research the accommodation options with independent hotels and, if possible, find out who has the most sustainable practices. Upon your arrival, buy from local farmers and forget the supermarket.
Find out if there are organizations dedicated to improving the place and help them.
Sometimes we have good intentions but we don’t know how to help the people or the environment of the places we visit. If you’re going to visit a vulnerable destination or environment, investigate if you can make a donation. Even a small one can make a big difference. This will help you have a certain since of empathy and understanding and you’ll appreciate the diestination even more.