With the vaccines rolling out and cases decreasing, many of us can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and release the breath we've been holding for over a year. Life is slowly returning to normal in some parts of the world, and we can return to something we’ve all so dearly missed: travelling.
However, tourism being put on pause for a year has also reminded us of how much this industry hurts our planet. Tourism accounts for 8 % of all greenhouse gas emissions alone and is largely responsible for the sea’s plastic pollution. While many countries in the world are still actively battling the virus, it is more important than ever for the ones privileged enough to travel to give back and protect our planet.
But what even is sustainable travel? The World Travel Organization (WTO) defines it as “ tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of its visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”.
Below, we’ve found some inspiring suggestions for you, proving that travelling sustainably might not be as complicated as it sounds!
Volunteer on a Farm - Anywhere, Anytime
Founded 50 years ago, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a social movement that organic farms worldwide with passionate volunteers. On their website, you can choose your preferred destination from a list of more than 130 countries. From beekeeping to ranches, you will definitely find your perfect farm! If you’re travelling on a tight budget, this holiday will suit you perfectly as you'll get to enjoy fresh, local meals with your host family for free. Most importantly, it is a unique opportunity to meet new, wonderful people and learn where our food comes from!
Find out more here: https://wwoof.net/
Depart on your Dream Trip - Responsibly
From your preferred destination and budget to volunteering trips and trips designed for vegans, Responsible Travel adapts your trip completely to your needs - while ensuring it remains sustainable and mindful of the planet. The Responsible Travel team believes that treating the local communities and environment with respect will result in more amazing and meaningful holidays for their customers as well. They enable you to travel guilt-free by pledging never to sell trips that include zoos, dolphin shows, elephant back riding camps or other abusive and detrimental activities. To spare their customers from confusion, the team lists all covid-safe travel destinations on their site.
Find out more here: https://www.responsibletravel.com/
Ready for a longer adventure?
Volunteerforever is an online platform connecting you with certified volunteering programs worldwide and allowing you to make the best choice according to your priorities and resources. Whether you wish to volunteer alone, with your friends or family, Volunteerforever has the right program for you! Furthermore, the website also offers internships, teaching jobs and longer volunteering trips. Who knows, maybe you’ll be tempted to take a gap year…
Find out more here: https://www.volunteerforever.com/
If volunteering is not the right fit for you or you’ve only got a limited amount of time, you can start by actively changing and implementing mindful habits while you travel. We’ve made a table for you with the DOs and DON’Ts of sustainable travel.
Book non-stop flights
Travel by hotel, train, bus or ship whenever you can
Check if your hotel follows a recycling plan and other sustainability programs
Bring a refillable water bottle with you
Hang up your towels after every use, signalling you’d like to reuse them
Take your own reusable plastic bag when shopping
Seek out indigenous artisans
Honour local customs
Book layover flights - most of an aeroplane’s carbon emissions come from take-offs and landings
Book flights to destinations nearby that you could have easily reached differently (bus, train, car)
Take baths or unnecessarily long showers
Use the hotel laundry, as they usually wash every guest’s clothes separately
Touch or feed wildlife
Travel with large group tour operators
Take tours promising hands-on encounters with wild animals - you’d support an industry abusing millions of animals every year
No matter which part of the world you choose to discover this summer, we hope these tips have helped you, and we wish you happy travelling! Remember to stay mindful of our planet, we've only got one.
Every year, YHS welcomes speakers and student delegates from over 40 leading hospitality institutions, as well as members of the media and other external guests at the summit. Building on a different theme each year, YHS serves as a platform for insightful and engaging debates and discussions on the most Topical issues of the hospitality industry. For more information on the panels, schedule, and YHS in general, please visit us at www.yhsglobal.com.
Contact: Eva Salhofer Core Member firstname.lastname@example.org