When it comes to travel, we all aspirtory continues below Advertisement
e to be responsible tourists and minimise any negative impacts on the environment and cultural heritage when exploring destinations on our bucket lists. Well, in a nutshell, that’s what eco-tourism is about.
Eco-tourism is tourism that sustains the environment and improves the welfare of local people and understanding the need for the conservation of natural resources and avoidance of environmental degradation.
If these ideals appeal to you becoming an environmentally-conscious traveller is at the top of your to-do list for 2023, here are simple ways in which you can achieve your goal to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment and surrounding communities.
1. Choose wisely when it comes to location
Choose a location where you will have a small environmental impact but make a big difference. For instance, nature-rich areas such as the Waterberg area of South Africa are an excellent choice as there are many experiences and things to do that contribute to or encourage nature conservation while also benefiting the immediate communities.
Fun fact: Airbnb recently announced the expansion and graduation of the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy in the Waterberg region in support of the President’s District Development Model (DDM), and through this local partnership with the Waterberg District Municipality, The Biosphere Reserve, and the Lapalala Wilderness School, the company aims to promote the region to help build the local tourism economy, develop skills for local families to open their homes and benefit from tourism growth and the biodiversity economy.
2. Participate in environmentally friendly activities
Seeing wildlife or ocean animals is a wonderful thing and looks great on social media. However, the way in which we participate in these experiences can be bad for the environment.
Find a different way of engaging with nature if you wish to be an eco-tourist, like hiking and cycling, which are low-impact activities that get you into nature without doing much or any damage.
Also, if you desire to see animals, consider wildlife safaris where you see animals in their natural environment rather than close-up interaction activities that allow guests to pet wild animals, and when it comes to ocean wildlife, snorkelling with a proven supplier is a good bet or you could paddle or kayak out onto the ocean with a company that offers this rather than taking a motorized boat.
3. Support local and visit local
Visit local communities and explore nearby craft markets. There will be many vendors offering truly unique items. These have been supplied by local craftspeople, and the money you spend directly contributes to the regional economy.
4. Be aware of your waste
Reduce your carbon footprint when travelling by being more aware of your waste. Instead of buying a new coffee cup every time you get that cup of java, buy a reusable one and take it with you wherever you go. Additionally, you can use a canvas shopper bag for all your shopping trips instead of asking for a new, often plastic, bag every time you head to the shops.
5. Respect local cultures and traditions
And lastly, when you have a plan to travel somewhere that is quite different from your own community, be sure to do some research on the region that you intend to visit. Research what their customs and beliefs are so that you know how to be respectful of them. For example, you might want to visit an attraction that requires you to remove your shoes or wear a scarf. This is something that you should ideally know ahead of time.