It has been said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Whilst this holds true and travel opens your heart and mind to new and rewarding experiences, it is easy to forget that we may be damaging the very world in which we are so eager to explore. ‘Green Travel’ or ‘Ecotourism’ is, in its simplest sense, about protecting and conserving natural landscapes and improving the welfare of locals. Being a visitor in a foreign country is even more of a reason for us to preserve the earth and by being more environmentally aware, travellers often find they have benefitted more from their trip knowing they have had minimal negative impact on our planet.
In the Americas, Huatulco in Mexico is at the forefront of sustainable tourism, being the first sustainable tourist community in the region. Huatulco holds the prestigious Green Globe International Certification having developed programs to preserve its natural resources. Much of the resort is located within an ‘ecological zone’ protecting this area from future development. To achieve this respected award Huatulco has taken impressive strides in fundamental matters including reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, reducing waste, improving energy efficiency and water purification. For the Americas, Huatulco’s reputation as a ‘green’ destination is truly impressive and one that we, as travellers, can learn from. What is equally remarkable is the resort’s inspiring schemes which includes providing environmental education to students in local schools as well as managing clean up campaigns encouraging waste reduction.
So what can you do as a traveller to make your travels more meaningful whilst having minimal negative impact on the planet? Firstly, travel is about educating yourself. Educate yourself about local customs, cultures and mannerisms of each place that you visit. Contribute to the local economy by buying locally produced products and promote local conservation efforts. While recycling is extremely limited or entirely non-existent in the majority of developing countries, extra care should be taken to avoid products with surplus packaging. Opt for glass bottles as they can then be re-used. Additionally, products that exploit wildlife or come from endangered species should never be purchased. These include items such as ivory, tortoise shell and animal skins. It may come as a surprise to learn that wildlife trafficking is one of the most lucrative illicit trades on earth and ranks third just behind drugs and weapons – do not contribute to this! Making an effort to change and adapt the way in which we travel can prevent unnecessary direct and devastating effects on wildlife and the environment.
Travelling is a right of all people and a vital factor of peace and understanding between differing cultures. It is then our responsibility to remain environmentally responsible and promote the growth of peaceful tourism. So the next time you book a vacation, attempt to make at least one difference in the way you travel and fully immerse yourself in another culture and land. After all, the world is filled with an array of vibrant sights and destinations begging to be explored!
Experience the unique destination of Huatulco, Mexico for yourself. For more information visit us at www.escapes.ca or call speak to one of our friendly travel agents on 1-888-685-6888.
Interested in reducing your carbon footprint? Calculate the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during your flights at www.offsetters.ca