Thoughts on Sustainable Tourism


It’s hard to believe I’m finishing up another class in grad school.  It’s also hard to believe that by the end of my next class, I will be half way finished with my Master’s of Advanced Study in Sustainable Tourism!  While it has be very involved and very time consuming, so far it has been manageable and enlightening!

I still feel I have a ton to learn and that I’m only beginning to understand how big some of these global issues are.  However, I have learned that if each of us makes small changes or small efforts, they really do add up.  One of my first posts in my Sustainable Sunday series was on 5 Easy Tips for More Sustainable Travels and I still believe in these principles.  I try to follow these easy steps when I travel and even locally when I’m at home too.  I’ve really become more aware of how my actions may impact the world around me.  I don’t believe that, in order to be truly save the environment from the damage traveling does, that one must stop traveling.  But I really do believe we can make better decisions in our travels.  I also believe that while the travel industry is harmful in terms of environmental damage, resources used, waste generated, and the general wear and tear caused by mass tourism, the travel industry also has a lot of positive impacts.  These come in the form of economic development, employment opportunities, conservation/preservation efforts, global and cultural awareness, and many, many more benefits along these lines.

It’s encouraging to see how many people are also becoming more aware of their actions during their travels.  I’ve seen posts and discussion on everything ranging from ethical animal interactions and treatment to efforts cleaning up trash and reducing waste.  Each little step like this has a positive impact and it is great to see this behavior continue to become mainstream.  There’s a great big world out there and it’s wonderful to explore it.  But, we also want to make sure that our actions today minimize harm so the travelers of tomorrow can also experience it.

Keep an eye out for the next Sustainable Sunday post where I will share my experience educating a group of travelers on Sustainable Tourism principles in an exciting location!

What are your thoughts on Sustainable Tourism? Do you follow some of the tips and tricks when you travel?  Or, do you confuse it with Eco-Tourism or Responsible Tourism?  I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

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