Travel broadens the mind and responsible travel acts as a balm for tired, urban souls. I travel frequently to escape the pollution of our cities and to refresh my perspective on life. My first thoughts after these tours primarily drift toward our collective responsibility to preserve this planet.

I wish I could serve humanity by raising awareness of the need for responsible travel practices. This stems from the realization that contemporary civilization can no longer ignore the dreadful effects of traditional travel and touring paradigms. Jet exhaust from air travel, the destruction of pristine scenic beauty from vehicle exhausts, the irresponsible behaviour of tourists, the crowding typical of urban tourist traps, and social malpractices that attend some tourist destinations comprise certain aspects of the damage sustained by the natural environment.

Large group of people crowding Rome's downtown streets in a sunny day - responsible travel
Overtourism is a serious issue: A large group of people crowding Rome’s downtown streets

Also read: What’s up with mass tourism?

Sustainable tourism creates a definitive impact on tourist locales. Tourists that travel in boats to view sea animals must keep a distance from these wonders of the oceanic world. They should take care not to harm the habitats or lives of these animals. Similarly, I take care not to hurt camels when I go for a camel safari.

Tourists must be encouraged not to indulge in seemingly harmless behaviour such as emitting animal noises when riding these magnificent beasts.

Such behaviour may upset the animal and may trigger erratic behaviour. Experts of animal behaviour suggest that tourists must exercise caution in terms of dumping waste products in the vicinity of these animals. I think responsible travel behaviour on the part of human beings can help these creations of nature to adhere to the normal ways of living.

mass tourism plastic pollution - responsible travel
Our waste hurts animals: Dead turtle among plastic garbage from the ocean on the beach

European nations such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom rank high in encouraging responsible tourism practices. I hear these nations are investing heavily in promoting sustainable tourism and eco-friendly best practices.

These efforts stem from the fact that irresponsible tourism leads to higher levels of damage to the natural environment; such damage may be irreversible in many cases. In fact, certain European destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Venice are already leading a backlash against the excesses typically associated with traditional tourism. The local governments are working to limit the influx of tourists in light of the negative impact driven by the ceaseless footfall of all manner of visitors.

I have argued about the benefits that attend sustainable tourism and responsible travel. These include:

  • Reduced levels of environmental pollution
  • The preservation of local cultures and communities
  • Higher levels of positive energy that boost local businesses
  • Lower levels of carbon dioxide production
  • The conservation of sensitive natural ecosystems and animal habitats
  • Extending the life of local infrastructure, etc.

These benefits accrue gradually and enable human beings to adjust to the natural rhythms of the planet. Sustainable tourism also helps to preserve monuments for the benefit of future generations. The human race can support sustainable tourism by avoiding landscaped parks and recreation areas that have been constructed by destroying natural expanses of land and water.

What can we do to contribute responsible travel?

The intelligent traveller can partake of local flavours by travelling on foot and avoiding motorized transport in tourist destinations. I think this manner of conscientious travel promotes responsible tourism, thereby restricting the carbon footprint of the tourism industry. I am certain that our role as self-aware citizens should translate into gentler travel practices that will benefit the planet in the long run.

What do you think?

Also read: How to reduce plastic pollution while travelling


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