Sergio Bersanetti

sustainble tourism

responsible travel

Support Sustainable Tourism by Being a Responsible Traveler

After three long and gloomy years, we are free again to go almost wherever we want, which means that sustainable tourism is becoming an issue again. Let’s find out how we can be responsible tourists and become greener travelers.

All the video in this page are available also on my YouTube channel.


01 - Eco-friendly Transportation

Sustainable tourism requires eco-friendly transportation to limit its environmental footprint. When planning your trip, consider the most eco-friendly method of transportation to your destination.

If traveling by car, you can opt for a hybrid vehicle, electric, or carpooling with a group of friends.

Taking public transportation is also a great choice, as it often emits fewer pollutants than a single car.

If you must fly, the carbon offset program allows you to offset your carbon dioxide emissions with a donation to a project that reduces greenhouse gases.

For short trips, biking or walking are excellent low-impact transportation options.
Many cities and tourist destinations provide bike rental services for those who don’t own one.
Or, you may consider using a pedicab or electric bike instead, as these are powered by renewable energy sources and don’t emit pollutants into the atmosphere.

Finally, walking is always an option when exploring a destination. It may take longer, but it has no environmental impact and allows you to really take in the sight and sounds of your destination. Plus, you can usually find interesting things to see and do along the way.

By utilizing sustainable transportation methods, you can reduce your overall environmental impact and support your destination’s sustainability efforts.


02 - Find the Right Accommodation

When it comes to sustainable tourism, the accommodation you choose can have a huge impact on the environment.
There are many green accommodations where you can stay during your travels that strive to reduce their environmental footprint.

One option is ecotourism lodges, which are designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible. They use renewable energy sources such as solar power and often rely on organic gardening to provide organic produce for their guests. They also prioritize the preservation and protection of the local wildlife.

You can also look for eco-friendly hotels. These hotels are built using sustainable materials and use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. They may also have water saving showers and toilets, as well as recycling centers.

If you opt for a more rustic camping experience, there are even eco-friendly campsites that are available. These campsites work to minimize the impact they have on the environment. By using local and renewable resources, they also strive to raise awareness about sustainable tourism among their guests.

Sustainable accommodation is not only beneficial for the environment, but also for the local community. Many eco-friendly accommodations work with the local community to support their economy and culture.
For example, they may source their materials from local businesses and hire local staff, which helps to create jobs and support the local economy.
Another benefit of sustainable accommodation is that it can be more cost effective in the long run by using renewable energy sources such as solar power. These accommodations can reduce their energy costs over time. They may also have systems in place to reduce water usage, which can lower utility bills.
Additionally, by incorporating green practices such as recycling and composting, they can reduce waste and save on disposal fees.

Can sustainable accommodations be beneficial also to the guests?
Absolutely! Many eco-friendly accommodations prioritize the use of natural and non-toxic materials in their buildings, which can reduce the risk of health problems caused by exposure to chemicals.
They may also offer amenities such as yoga and meditation classes, spa treatments, using natural products and access to outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking, which promote physical and mental wellness.

Is it difficult to find a sustainable accommodation? Not really, if you follow these tips:

Do your research before booking your accommodation.
Research the options available in the area you plan to visit. Look for accommodations that have eco-friendly and sustainable certifications or that are members of sustainable tourism organizations.
These accommodations are more likely to have a commitment to sustainability and follow best practices. Check for sustainable practices when researching accommodations.
Look for information about their sustainable practices. Do they use renewable energy sources? Do they have water saving initiatives? Do they recycle and compost? Do they source their food and products locally? These are all good indicators of a sustainable accommodation.

  1. Read reviews
    Look for reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the sustainability practices of the accommodation. If guests mention eco-friendly initiatives, this is a good sign that the accommodation takes sustainability seriously.
  3. Contact the accommodation
    If you have any questions about the sustainability practices of an accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact them directly.
    Ask about their energy and water conservation practices, waste production initiatives, and their commitment to supporting the local community overall.

Choosing sustainable accommodation when traveling can have numerous benefits for the environment, local communities, and the health and wellbeing of travelers.
By supporting eco-friendly accommodations, travelers can contribute to the long-term sustainability of tourism and make a positive impact on the world.


03 - Souvenirs

During your travels, it’s a good idea to think about ways to reduce your environmental footprint.
Sustainable tourism is about more than just avoiding plastic straws and bringing reusable water bottles. Your souvenirs should leave a positive impact on the places you visit and the people living there.

Look for local handmade craft items that are made with natural sustainable materials. Buying locally grown and produced items will support small businesses and the local economy. You can often find these items at a local farmer’s market or shopping district. The souvenirs may cost a bit more, but the quality will be much better, and you’ll be contributing to a much more responsible type of tourism.

You can also try looking for souvenirs made from upcycled materials. Upcycling is a process of transforming discarded materials into something useful and beautiful. Buying items that have been upcycled is an eco-friendly way to shop, and you’ll be doing your part to reduce waste.

Some travelers like to give back to the communities they visit by purchasing gifts that are made by local artisans with proceeds going to support their families, schools, and other community projects. Fair trade shops are a great way to make sure you’re purchasing responsibly and giving back to the people whose land you are visiting.

In addition to finding low-impact souvenirs, try to limit the number of items you purchase, pack lightly and bring only what you need and think twice before buying anything.

The best souvenirs from your travels are often more intangible, like the memories and experiences you have. 


04 - Respect Local Culture Sustainable Tourism

Do you consider yourself a responsible traveler? If the answer is yes, of course you want to leave a positive impact on the places you visit. You want to support the local economy, protect the environment, and make lasting memories. However, one crucial aspect of sustainable travel that often gets overlooked is cultural sensitivity, that is, respecting local culture and traditions when traveling. How do you rank on that?

Cultural insensitivity, whether intentional or not, can negatively impact the communities we visit. Ignorance of local customs and beliefs can result in offensive behaviors and actions by travelers. Examples of disrespectful actions are dressing inappropriately, invading private spaces, and taking photos without permission. These actions can cause discomfort, embarrassment, and even anger among locals, resulting in a lack of hospitality and a negative view of tourists.

On the other hand, respecting local customs and traditions has significant positive effects. It fosters mutual respect between tourists and locals, creates opportunities for cultural exchange, and enriches the travel experience. Moreover, promoting cultural sensitivity can preserve the integrity of the cultural heritage of the visited community.

Here are some actionable tips and advice for travelers looking to promote cultural sensitivity and understanding:

1. Research and educate yourself about local customs – Before arriving in a new destination, take time to learn about the customs and traditions of the communities that you will visit. This includes learning about the local dress code and what behaviors are considered offensive or disrespectful.

2. Avoid disrespectful behaviors and clothing – Be sensitive to local customs by avoiding clothing or behaviors that may be disrespectful. For example, dress modestly in religious sites, avoid public displays of affection, and ask for permission before taking someone’s photo.

3. Support local businesses and artisans – One of the best ways to support a community’s economy is to purchase products made by local artisans or to engage in local activities. This way, you are helping to provide economic opportunities for community members.

4. Learn a few key phrases in the local language – Even if it’s just hello and thank you, learning a few local phrases can show locals that you are making an effort to connect with their culture.

5. Be respectful and mindful – Be mindful of your words, actions and the impact they might have on the community. Also, be respectful and always ask for permission before entering sacred spaces.

Let’s recap: Respecting local customs and traditions can have positive effects on communities and create opportunities for mutual respect and cultural exchange. Embracing cultural differences, learning and supporting the cultures of communities we visit is the key to making lasting memories, making friends, and preserving the authenticity of the places we visit. 


05 - Avoid Single-use Products - Sustainable Tourism

Single-use products are those which are used just once before being disposed of, such as plastic bags, water bottles, and disposable cutlery. While these products may seem convenient, they have a significant impact on the environment.

According to a report by the United Nations, around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year, with single-use plastics being among the top contributors. Plastic waste not only harms marine life, but it also pollutes the oceans and adversely affects human health.

One of the biggest culprits is the use of single-use plastic water bottles. Not only are they a significant contributor to pollution, but buying bottled water while travelling can also become quite expensive. Using reusable water bottles and tumblers is a simple and effective way to reduce both your environmental impact and your travel expenses.

When choosing a reusable water bottle or tumbler, there a few key things to keep in mind. First, consider the size of the bottle or tumbler, as this should be based on your daily water intake and the length of your trip. It’s also important to choose a bottle or tumbler that is durable and made from a sustainable material such as glass, stainless steel, or bamboo.

Many airports and train stations now have refill stations for water bottles, making it easier than ever to travel sustainably. Additionally, many restaurants and cafes are happy to fill up your bottle or tumbler with tap water if you ask.

Carrying a reusable bag has many benefits:

They are cost-effective: Reusable bags are often made of durable materials such as canvas, nylon, or recycled plastic and can last for years. While single-use plastic bags may seem cheap, their cumulative cost can add up quickly and prove to be more expensive in the long run.

They are versatile, because they come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be used for a range of purposes beyond just carrying groceries. They can be taken to the beach, used for laundry, or even as a gym bag.

They occupy little space, because they are designed to be collapsible and compact, allowing for easy storage in a suitcase or backpack. This makes them a perfect travel companion for those who are looking to reduce their environmental impact while on the go.

How about reusable cutlery? Consider this: By the year 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Every year, millions of marine animals die as a result of plastic pollution. One of the biggest culprits of this pollution is single-use plastic cutlery. Switching to reusable cutlery means that you’ll be doing your part to help reduce plastic waste and prevent more marine life from being put in danger.

When it comes to choosing your reusable cutlery to bring on your travels, you have a few options. We recommend bamboo, stainless steel or titanium.

Finally, let’s talk about restaurants:

Going out to eat while travelling can be a difficult task when trying to reduce your environmental footprint. However, opting for restaurants which use sustainable take-out options can significantly help in reducing the usage of single-use plastics.

Look for restaurants that use compostable containers These containers are usually made of plant-based materials and can be composted after usage. As alternative, you may bring your own container. If you plan on getting take-out often during your travel, bringing your own container can be a great way to reduce the usage of single-use plastic.

Then, choose paper over plastic bags. Paper bags are biodegradable and can be recycled. Many restaurants also offer cloth bags as an alternative.


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