What is sustainable tourism?
Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
Why does sustainable tourism matter?
There is a beach in Colombia called Playa Blanca that is known as being absolutely perfect. With crystal clear waters, sugary white sand and swaying palms the beach is (or was) the image of paradise. Today, this beach has grown to become the beach to visit when traveling to Cartagena but rather than travel responsibly, the beach is left covered in beer bottles, discarded plates and trash as poor, local islanders live amongst the garbage left behind by tourists. This is why sustainable tourism matters so much, because it helps avoid the destruction of once beautiful places as well as the negative impact on local communities left by uninformed travelers.
How is The Pin the Map Project involved with sustainable tourism?
I recently attended a global summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to discuss the future of the travel industry and sustainable tourism efforts. The summit was attended by global ambassadors, travel industry CEOs, editors, writers, photographers and bloggers with a vested interest in ensuring a positive future for travel.
The Global Summit was organized by Travel+SocialGood, a non-profit organization and community aimed at propelling the travel industry to meet its potential for global positive impact. Formed in 2013 in partnership with the UN Foundation’s +SocialGood network, TSG believes in making the travel industry more sustainable. As a member of the TSG media network here in New York City, it is my pleasure to leverage The Pin the Map Project’s following and influence to help promote sustainable travel practices and encourage education.
Ways you can travel sustainably:
- Support local businesses and buy from local artisans and family-owned shops when traveling.
- Choose eco-friendly hotels that are dedicated to sustainable practices. Here is a list.
- Explore tours that support local programs, efforts and businesses such as those offered by Under30Experiences.
- Limit carbon emissions when visiting a destination by using public transportation, walking or biking.
- Collect remaining currency from your trip and donate to a local cause. Often international flights will collect spare change in all currencies for donations to Amnesty International.
- Avoid littering! Make is a point to leave public parks and spaces in good shape.
- Connect with locals–whether striking up conversation, attending a culture event, exploring the marketplace or reading about the destination. Get to know the destination you are visiting.