Responsible Travel

Why Responsible Travel Matters?

Shift From Problems to Solutions

There is a lot of talk about the climate crisis and more of us are wondering what we can do about it. All the negativity can be overwhelming so it is important to be armed with the facts of what impact your choices have and also know what you can do to reduce your impact on the planet. It’s essentially shifting our mindset from worrying about the problem to contributing to the solution!

What does this have to do with responsible tourism?  Why responsible travel matters? We need to remember that tourism can be a force for good. It can create jobs, create foreign exchange in and economic diversification in destinations. It can help us understand other cultures and help protect and conserve places we love. It also, however, has its negative aspects which we can mitigate.

So why do we need to become more responsible travellers? There are a few reasons.

Five Reasons Why Responsible Travel Matters?

Five Reasons Why Responsible Travel Matters?

1. Global Greenhouse Emission

First, the travel and tourism industry contributes to global greenhouse emission. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, tourism is responsible for approximately 5% of global emissions and approximately 22% of all transport emissions. One long-haul flight is about equivalent to driving a car for a year, and so we need to be conscious of how much we fly, try to take alternative forms of transport (trains, etc.), and ensure that if we do fly, we fly direct and stay longer in the destination to ensure our impact is worth it. Google and Skyscanner both show the least carbon-intensive choices for flying and getting around.

2. Overtourism

Second, many places around the globe have become too crowded due to excessive tourism numbers, which has resulted in something called overtourism. Overtourism is considered to be “the acceleration and growth of tourism supply and demand, the use of tourism destinations’ natural ecological goods, the destruction of their cultural attractions and negative impacts on their social and economic environments.”  To avoid this, we need to choose where we travel to and travel in the off-season. We can avoid contributing to the overcrowding and, therefore negative impacts.

3. Energy-intensive Industry 

Third, the tourism industry can be very resource intensive. Did you know that a 4*hotel uses approximately 800 litres of water per person per night? Did you know that a 5*hotel uses up to 1800 litres of water per person per night? Making choices to stay in hotels or other accommodations with environmental and social policies can help. Try booking through Bookdifferent.com or Ecobnb.

4. Tourism Workers Are The Lowest Paid In Any Industry 

Fourth, many people don’t get paid fairly in the tourism industry. Many hotel workers in all-inclusive resorts make less than $1 per day and often work seven days a week. Some cruise workers make no salary at all. Check to make sure you aren’t contributing to the problem. Try booking with Fairbnb or check out Ethical Traveller.

5. Support The Local Communities: Go Global , Book Local!

Fifth, many communities don’t really benefit from tourism. Many chain restaurants and hotels, including many all-inclusive and cruises, do not contribute anything to the communities in which they operate. This is because they are foreign-owned, so the money leaks out of the country and goes back to where that company is from. Make an effort to stay in a locally owned accommodation, book with tour operators who work with local guides, eat in locally-owned restaurants, and buy locally made products and souvenirs. Not only will you get a better chance to understand the local culture, but you will also be contributing to the local economy, which benefits the local community.

Check out Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism is a great platform where you can find information regarding sustainable tourism, and it covers responsible travel in all aspects. Sustainable Tourism also provides services from tourism development to marketing and communication.

Read “Are we there yet?”

A five-star book from Goodreads, it covers topics about how to travel more responsibly with your children. Traveling with a little explorer can create a wonderful opportunity to experience new places and cultures.  However, responsible travel can ensure your adventure positively impacts the world.  Taking care of the local community and preserving nature is something we all can do by making choices and actions consciously.

Are we there yet?

Author Profile

Rachel Dodds

Rachel Dodds

Director, Sustaining Tourism

Dr. Rachel Dodds is a Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and is passionate about making travel more sustainable. She has over 25 years of tourism experience working with tour operators, destination management companies, accommodation facilities, festivals, and non-profit organizations and still works actively with the industry. She has lived and worked on four continents and travelled to over 80 countries.
She, alongside Richard Butler are the authors of Are We There Yet? Travelling more responsibly with your children. Available on Amazon, Bookbaby and bookstores.
Five Reasons Why Responsible Travel Matters

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