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Many of us have become more and more aware of the importance of sustainable living. That is, living more responsibly and taking better care of our planet through practices like recycling, composting, minimizing waste, reducing carbon emissions, etc.

sustainability and travel

But, sustainable living is not just about our daily lives. You can do it while on vacation too! Sustainable tourism generally refers to activities that aim to have a positive environmental, economic, and social impact on the places you visit. It’s a fast-developing industry. And there is an increasing number of travelers who care about these issues and want to seek out greener accommodations when they travel.

When this trend started, it had a narrower focus; an eco-friendly hotel might have encouraged guests to reuse their bath towels for a second day. These days, however, sustainability is no longer limited to that. Many hotels have embraced the notion of sustainability in a much more comprehensive way, from how they source their water to who they hire.

what does sustainability look like?

Environmentally, sustainability might mean using renewable energy, or composting. Economically speaking, a hotel might hire local staff or serve locally farmed food. The social aspect includes respecting the local cultural heritage, and making sure to protect and not take advantage of it.

The point is to not leave places worse off when you leave, so they have the resources and capability to continue to support themselves. It’s kind of like that saying about traveling—leave only footprints behind and take only photos with you.

sustainable tourism in practice

One hotel that has embraced sustainability is The Brando, which is LEED platinum-certified, in French Polynesia. The Brando uses a seawater air conditioning system, which pulls in naturally cold ocean water to cool its property. It relies on both solar power and a biofuel power station using coconut oil for its energy needs. The Brando also collects rainwater from roofs to supply water for toilets and laundry service. In addition, they offer lectures and presentations on Polynesian culture and history.

The &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa is also focused on sustainability. It operates by its core ethic of “Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, and Care of the People.” For example, it bottles water on-site using glass bottles. It provides education and health care to the local community. The &Beyond company has also invested in Rhinos Without Borders, a program that helps safely relocate rhinos threatened by poachers from South Africa to Botswana.

Sustainability isn’t just about recycling—it can also be incorporated into fun activities like travel. It’s great to know that you can escape from home, but also be conscious of conservation principles. And if you so desire, you can visit one of them yourself!

Source: National Geographic


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