My life changed with a short 8-hour experience in 2006.
We were returning from our first deployment and we touched down at Helsinki airport in Finland.
We stopped in Finland to refuel the plane so the crew and passengers were able to get off the plane since it was going to be a few hours.
It was around 4am so the airport was super quiet and pretty empty.
I remember walking the halls and I was just so in awe over the culture that was evident just from being within the airport!
I still remember vividly that I went into a little market and I picked up a thick magazine with Eva Longoria on the cover, and it was all in Finnish. I had promised to myself in that moment, that I would someday come back to Finland and explore this amazing country and perhaps dive into why I felt such a connection and relationship with this place.
The world of travel, technology, sustainability, and tourism has profoundly evolved since 2006 and it will only continue to change.
For today’s discussion, we will dive in a little deeper to the category of tourism and ask “is travel and tourism sustainable?”
Let’s see what impacts and influence our choices have on this growing field!
Travel and Tourism Overview
Travel can be a very personal connection for many people. Others may just enjoy visiting family in various states or countries.
Could be a combination of both. Family vacations to build memories with kids and family, or a spiritual self-growth journey.
Whatever it may be for you, there are a couple things that you might want to know before you choose your destination for your next traveling expedition.
Tourism is the largest global industry.
With this fact in mind, you have to ask yourself: “what would be people’s main intentions and mindsets towards tourists?”
Often times it is consumerism, capitalism, any process that is making a profit.
Sad, but true.
Therefore, more than likely, no major entities or organizations within the tourism industry, are focused or prioritizing sustainability or conservation efforts.
Travel and Tourism grosses around 515 Billion is visitor exports.
This is similar to the first fact. This can also play a part in why many people believe the myth that choosing to travel takes up A LOT of one’s savings or income-base. This idea that traveling is a universal devastating expense, is a myth.
Traveling does NOT HAVE to be this financial burden if you do your research, and learn about all the various budget friendly activities and organizations out there.
Do not fall for the lies!
Controlled travel and tourism occurs at certain destinations that have over-population or excess amount of tourists at a given time. Some destinations will limit the amount of people allowed in.
This is probably a concept not many of you have heard of before.
With controlled tourism being in existence, this is definitely a matter of concern in relation to conservation and sustainability.
Need help choosing your next family vacation or an amazing bucket list to choose from!? Check out our article with free resources.
Is Travel and Tourism Sustainable? What is Sustainability?
Is travel and tourism sustainable?
In the large picture? No. It is not.
Tourism generally creates more pollution, carbon dioxide, supports oil drilling companies, promotes habitat degeneration, over population, etc.
(and that is just the SHORT list…)
So, with that response you may be feeling like it”s hopeless and there is NOTHING we can do to improve this situation, right?
Well, there IS hope!
You CAN make a difference!
You just have to CHOOSE to value the importance of sustainability efforts and conservation.
One option for traveling, is to turn a portion or all of your touring into a service trip. Meaning, you could work or volunteer during your trip to a foreign country, or even find some service-organizations within your travels domestically.
Another option, is to choose less-popular, less-marketed destinations to visit, modes of travel, or supporting small businesses during your travel.
Just because something is well-known and popular, doesn’t mean it’s the best for the planet.
We got your back and helped lay this out below!!
Sustainable Travel and Tourism: Top 3 Categories to Consider
1. Method of Transportation for Travel and Tourism
While international travel often brings about the necessity for flying to one’s destination, flights aren’t always what they are cracked up to be!
Sometimes, flying is the only option for transportation that one can take. But even with flying, you have eco-friendly options.
Outside of flying, there are many options: train, bus, ferry, express rail, and of course automobile.
Herbalist Conservation Fact: Flying as little as ONE MILE can create over 55 pounds of Carbon Dioxide.
2. Types of Lodging and Conservation Imprint
Hotels are not the only lodging option for travel, and it may surprise you that there are more eco-friendly options available!
Hostels, homestays and caravans are amazing options that often have reduced carbon footprints than traditional hotels and airbnb’s.
If you are interested in a more minimalistic lodging, you can find public campsites and use tents.
If you are in the market for some luggage or carry-on options, make sure to go with companies that emphasize durability and safety!
Herbalist Travel and Tourism Tip: Check out these FREE road trip and itinerary plans and apps
3. Choice of Activities: Do they harm conservation and sustainability?
Visiting major zoos, amusement parks, and attractions are common family-focused vacation activities but, are they supporting the environment?
Many zoos do not follow humane protocols with their animals they have in captivity and can often perpetuate disconnected views when it comes to how we see wildlife to the human species.
Visiting reputable sanctuaries is a far better ethical option if you are a lover of animals.
When it comes to deciding activities you will engage in during your travel and tourism adventures, my number one rule of thumb is to…
Think Outside the Box!
For example, are you a person who loves the water?
If so, with just reading that question, where did your mind immediately go? Somewhere tropical? To the ocean?
So, you probably didn’t even CONSIDER Canada as your next trip when it comes to amazing water spots to explore?
Well, get ready for your mind to be blown, because Canada alone has over 2 million lakes. It is actually the country that has the most lakes in the world.
So, while the ocean is a great option for those that say they love the water, perhaps next time, expand your horizons to other TYPES of bodies of water!!
Travel and Tourism Final Thoughts…
Even the choices of restaurants or markets we choose to eat at while on vacation or during our travel and tourism ventures, can have a more harmful impact than we may think.
I know the concept of researching for a family vacation or solo trip, may sound counter-intuitive to this image of relaxation or freedom for your upcoming trip, but even a few minutes a day-research could help you avoid making the most common mistakes travelers make!
I hope that this article has been beneficial and educational for you and your fellow travelers! If so, share, comment, and like below! Remember to become a part of our apothecary family for upcoming classes, events, and discounts. See you back here next week!