Sustainable travel means innovating and maintaining eco-friendly ways to do tourism. Traditionally, tourism was known to only be about fun and adventure or business. The concept of sustainability introduces responsibility to that mix. It’s very possible for individual tourists to achieve everything they have always known tourism to be about, and be responsible while adding more than just monetary value to the places they visit. Big businesses also have a very significant role to play in making sure that they don’t kill the industry by destroying the environment& wildlife?, which tourists come to see.
Sustainable Tourism Practices
- Use of alternative energy sources: Hotels and other tourist accommodation businesses can contribute to preserving the environment by using sources of energy such as…,solar and wind power.
- Human and wildlife co-existence: One great way to experience wildlife tourism is to find safe ways for people and animals to co-exist. We cannot sit animals down and teach them our plan but we can teach local communities to study animal behaviour and see how they can live in the same environment with animals without disturbing or hurting them. When animals feel scared they fight and when people feel threatened they kill animals. This is a situation with no winners – a zero-sum game. Many countries where tourists go to enjoy wildlife in Africa are now putting a lot of effort into training locals to live with animals with no artificial boundaries. Zimbabwe has managed to achieve this through the Kariba Conservation project. Volunteers and students mostly from abroad are taught about conservation and ensuring wildlife and human safety in places where they all live together. Volunteers also teach what they know about the subject so it’s a mutually beneficial process of knowledge exchange. Veterinary students come for internships where they assist and learn and have experienced game rangers supervising them. This is a great way to spend a summer abroad and impact the environment while you enjoy the treasures nature has to offer.
- Waste Management:Tourists and all businesses that host them should learn everything about green practices starting from what may seem like small everyday things. For instance, it’s better to use one water bottle that you fill up with water than constantly buying water bottles and tossing them away. Re-usable towels as opposed to paper towels mean less trash to be thrown away. In addition, proper collection, recycling or disposal of waste contributes to the environment being cleaner for animals and people alike. Littering can lead to animals eating plastic or other things that might be detrimental to their health.
- Water Conservation: Fresh and clean water is a precious resource, which should be used efficiently. Tourist accommodation businesses should have well thought out water management plans that educate their guests about conservation practices such as taking short showers, using cups when brushing teeth instead of letting water run unnecessarily and limit toilet flushes to necessary situations only.
- Animal Care: It’s very important to understand that certain fun practices that we take part in and get amazing pictures out of can be very taxing on animals. We have seen beautiful pictures of tourists riding elephants and camels and such animals like that. Wild animals are naturally supposed to live a “wild” life. The intense conditioning that animals have to go through for them to entertain people can be harsh for them. What we see when we are entertained by these animals is a result of a lot of training they would have gone through,which we don’t get to see first-hand, however,most if not all training is not pleasant for the animals.
This is not an exhaustive list of what sustainable tourism is about. Other things include not chopping down trees illegally and with no plan to plant more, not plucking wild flowers (enjoy seeing them and leaving them for the next person), no illegal fishing and hunting or illegal forest fires.
Benefits of Sustainable Tourism
- Preserves natural resources so that tourism can go on for longer. Most economies rely on tourism so cannot afford to have the industry decline especially because of things that we can avoid. A lot of jobs are dependent on our natural resources remaining intact.
- Benefits local community. Places that we visit are homes not just to the wildlife or other landscapes we love to see but also to native people. Sometimes when tourists are prioritised over natives this can mean displacement of natives so that tourists can enjoy themselves more or services for tourists being imported so that certain standards are met. This goes against what sustainable travel is about because the aim of tourism is not to disrupt people’s homes. Changes that come from tourism should be beneficial ones such as providing local people with employment opportunities. Instead of importing services like tour guiding and transporting, catering, etc local people should be given first preference.
- Maintains the authentic character of a place which enriches the experience of tourists. Visitors to a place are mostly interested in what the place has to offer that cannot be found elsewhere or that cannot be easily replicated. If we get in the way of that we taint that experience.
- Having a safe and clean environment to live in. Everything that is encouraged by sustainable tourism practices is done not only for tourists but for locals as well. We have many generations that are coming after us that we must keep the eco system working for.
If you would like to travel responsibly Tiritose Sustainable Travel is one travel buddie that fun, learning, teaching, helping, getting help and overall changing the way you think about travel. Make Visit our website and see our conservation programmes for students and volunteers or just visitors passing through Zimbabwe.