Sustainable Tourism: Can One Traveller Make A Difference?

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To the question about whether one traveller can make a difference, the answer is yes. A single traveller can get the ethical tourism ball rolling and encourage others in their social network to follow suit. Each new set of ethical travellers will encourage other travellers, who encourage other travellers, until travellers everywhere assume that travel has always followed the principles of sustainable tourism.

The Principles of Sustainable Tourism

Think of sustainable tourism as a three-legged milking stool and then give each leg a name:

  • Environment – conservation, restoration, renewable energy
  • Community – working conditions , health services, education, social justice, community pride
  • Economics – good jobs, fair wages, infrastructure, fair trade

Each leg of the stool is an essential part of the concept – the legs need to be in balance in order for the stool to work well. Every traveller who designs a trip around the three legs of sustainable tourism will give a little push to the tourism industry to view demand for sustainable tourism as the norm – something that is expected and non-negotiable.

Until tourism in Canada reaches that point, travellers – one by one – will have to dig a little deeper when designing and booking their trips.

When planning your trip, ask:

  • Are the locals benefiting from my trip? Are they working in management positions?
  • Has the tourism supplier published their environmental policy? Do they offer training for their staff on the policy?
  • Are you using public transportation during your travels? Have you planned your trip to stay longer at each destination to help minimize carbon emissions produced from transportation? If you are flying, are you flying direct?
  • Does your tourism supplier respect and support local culture? Are you aware of local customs and environments so you may avoid accidentally offending people or places you are planning to visit?
  • Where will your food come from? Is it locally produced?

The key to making a difference is choosing vendors that are consciously trying to maximize the benefits of tourism – by doing so you will ensure your ethics aren’t compromised the moment you start travelling.

About the author:

Before co-founding Green Motion Travel, Andrea Dixon worked for tourism organizations including as the Canadian Tourism Commission and The Canadian Tourism Research Institute after graduating with her Masters in Tourism Administration, specializing in Sustainable Tourism from The George Washington University. She is a guest lecturer on sustainable tourism at Algonquin College in Ottawa and sits on the industry advisory board for the Travel and Tourism department at Algonquin College.

Source / Fuente:

Author / Autor: Andrea Dixon

Date / Fecha: 22/10/12

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