Whether it’s enjoying pristine and cared for environments, embracing local culture, meeting new people, trying a new local dish that you can add to your own recipe repertoire or finding that must-have local souvenir that reminds you of your holiday long after you’re back home, sustainable tourism enhances our holidays for the better.
Research your destination
Researching your destination is a great way to help ensure you have a better holiday. You’ll likely find out interesting things about the local climate and culture, about great things to see and do in the destination and maybe even pick up a few words of the local language (this is normally really appreciated by locals).
Choose a hotel that has a Travelife award
The Travelife Sustainability System is a scheme that works around the world to help hotels to best manage the impacts they have on the environment and on culture. The top performing hotels receive an award level of Gold, Silver or Bronze depending on how well they perform and are then indicated with the logos in tour operators’ brochures and websites. Travelife hotels are doing great things to help ensure you have a better holiday. If you want to find out more, visit www.travelifecollection.com.
Explore your surroundings
When you’re in the destination make sure you get out and explore your surroundings. Speak to your tour operator, travel agent or the hotel staff to find out about the must-see sites and great things to do and see how you can work them into your holiday plans. Will it be a morning on the beach followed by an afternoon market visit where you pick up the perfect gifts or treat yourself? Or maybe a day of pampering and then a delicious dinner at a local restaurant where you excite your taste buds after relaxing your senses.
Play your part
Many of us are now doing things in our daily lives that help to ensure we have a lower impact on the world around us – whether it's recycling at home, for example, or sharing a lift to work. There's a range of simple things that we can all do to help play our part whilst on holiday too, such as:
Saving water: in many holiday destinations water is a scarcer resource than it is in the UK so try to remember this and perhaps try taking shorter showers
Turn electrical items off when not in use just as you would do at home
Leave packaging at home – that way, if there is no recycling availability within the destination you’ll make sure you can recycle packaging and will also be carrying less weight in your luggage
Use local public transport in the destination – this is usually a great way to see more of the destination. Speak to your tour operator or hotel for tips on how to get around.
Treat yourself to something – go on, you’ve earned it! But make sure it’s something locally made. This way, not only will you have the perfect item, but you’ll have a feel-good factor too, knowing that your purchase has helped make a difference to someone in the destination. Bargaining’s a big part of purchasing in many cultures so have fun with it but make sure that you pay a price that's fair for both you and the seller. And don’t be shy of asking questions of where the item was made and what materials it’s made from. Try to steer clear of products made from animal parts or plants.
Ask your tour operator what they are doing
Whether it’s during the booking process, before you go, whilst there or when you get back, ask your travel provider what they’re doing to help ensure we can have sustainable holidays for many years to come. Many in the travel and tourism industry are taking action, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it helps make holidays even better. Find out about what the company does by asking questions and allow this to inform your decision.
“I had a better holiday” – spread the word
So you’re back and you tried some or all of the above and you had a better holiday. Well share your experiences with friends and families and help them to have a better holiday next time they travel.