This article deals with questions like ‘what is sustainable tourism?’ and ‘what are the benefits of sustainable tourism development?’ and how we can travel responsibly in the future.
You would probably have come across terms like sustainable tourism and green tourism before. Let’s first talk about what sustainable tourism is and what it means to us as travelers.

What is sustainable tourism?

Everyone loves to travel. But while traveling can be fun and enjoyable, it is equally important to make responsible choices when traveling. We need to make well-informed choices, keeping our destination’s well-being in mind.

Sustainable tourism is traveling with the purpose of safeguarding the environment and taking care of the well-being of society and the economy as a whole. It includes cultivating sustainable practices while traveling, from our transport choices to our food, outings and shopping choices.

Sustainable tourism means minimizing negative impacts on the environment as much as we can and contributing to the development and conservation of travel destinations. It also includes protecting the welfare of the people who depend on it for livelihood.
So, the term sustainable tourism does not just refer to making eco-friendly choices while traveling. It also refers to safeguarding the rights of locals and making correct travel decisions.

Tourism can never be completely green. Like every other industry, it is bound to have an impact on the environment. Yet, we must do what we can to minimize these effects as much as possible and make sure that the locals are the least affected by our traveling.
So here are some benefits of sustainable tourism development and how you can make the most sustainable choices for a positive impact. It is important for you to understand these benefits as a traveler so you understand the positive impact of sustainable choices.

What Are the Benefits of Sustainable Tourism Development?

It Leaves the Environment Clean

One of the biggest advantages of sustainable tourism development is that it leaves a clean environment behind. Often, beaches, wildlife reserves and national parks suffer from pollution and tourism waste. Locals usually have a hard time cleaning up afterward, and often, the damages done are irreversible.

Another factor to watch out for in greenwashing is tourism. Selecting an eco-friendly accommodation while traveling in Asian countries can be quite a challenge. Most places will flaunt plastic-free choices to appeal to eco-conscious tourists but do nothing about their high energy consumption or wastewater lines.

Sustainable tourism is a lot more than just being plastic-free. It would also include using eco-friendly soap and shampoo, laundry detergent and waste disposal. Everything from where they source their ingredients to how they serve their guests and what they do with the pool water matters.

Choose sustainable travel destinations that are not overcrowded. Choose agents who make sustainability their priority. Don’t hesitate to inquire about a hotel’s sustainability practices like waste disposal, recycling and green policies.

It Safeguards the Welfare of Wildlife Animals

In many tourist’ sites, animals are used for tourist rides and shows but are not treated well. While you may have a good time, it is just as important to think about the welfare of animals. For example, the elephants used for rides in some parts of Sri Lanka are kept under chains. They have limited movement and are not given good treatment. So think twice before you go on elephant rides or go swimming with dolphins.

Furthermore, beware of taking animal products as souvenirs. Often, ornaments are carved out of ivory, and bracelets are made from tiger fangs or tortoise shells. Make sure what you are buying is cruelty-free.

Choose instead to view wildlife in their natural habitats, which would ensure that you have an unforgettable experience as well as safeguard the wildness of animals.

It leaves a clear ecological footprint.

Make sure that wherever you travel, leave a clean carbon footprint. This all depends on where you stay, how you get about, and what you buy. Being constantly conscious of the environment wherever you visit will make sure the environment stays clean and safe for the locals.

You can also promote a cleaner ecological footprint by choosing to eat from local farmers and producers, depending on where you stay. Imported food is costly both in terms of the environment and the economy. Locally produced food has less emission and will also allow you the experience the authentic tastes of the country.

Try to reduce your carbon footprint by using public transport. Avoid using domestic flights if the place is reachable by road. Packing light will help save energy, too.

It Will Support and Empower Local Communities

Sustainable tourism makes sure that the lifestyles of the locals are safeguarded. Staying in local hotels and cottages will ensure that the money reaches the locals and protects them from exploitation. Spending your money responsibly will ensure that the locals earn their living and are provided with necessary jobs.

Eating at local restaurants will ensure that your food is healthy, reasonably priced and authentic. Eating at restaurant chains will probably give you an inauthentic experience for overpriced food, and the money will not benefit locals.

Shop wisely, trying to buy from local manufacturers as much as possible. This will help cottage industries and give jobs to locals.

It Preserves the Cultural Heritage of a Country

Sustainable tourism practices will ensure that the culture of a country is preserved. Employ local travel agents who have respect for local culture and values so that you can experience the unique cultural heritage firsthand without causing harm.

Locals usually like to preserve their rich cultural heritage as it has strongholds with the way they grew up. It is important to preserve this even if the place is a popular tourist site.

Read this amazing article on the art of responsible tourism!

What Are the Benefits of Sustainable Tourism Development? Summary

Responsible traveling will not only safeguard the environment wherever you visit but also help to preserve the cultural heritage of a country, protect the welfare of wild animals, support local producers, create job opportunities for locals and pave the way to better environmental practices as a whole. Having a good time on a vacation does not always have to come at the expense of the environment.

Also read: What are the benefits of smart living?

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