responsible tourism

On November 12, the “mobile” of tourism sector closed in Seville. Tourism Innovation Summit 2021. And its director, Silvia Avilés, made it very clear in this second edition: “The traveler’s mentality has changed drastically, he is increasingly aware of climate change and the impact that travel generates. Now, it is the tourism industry that must boost sustainability, be responsible for the environment and cultural heritage of destinations and promote inclusive tourism”.
We tell you all the details about responsible options when travelling.

What is sustainable tourism?

As in other sectors, the tourism industry also intends to develop its activity generating a minimal impact on the environment. An opportunity to give the planet a break while meeting the demand of an increasingly committed consumer.

In 1976, the World Tourism Organization was already talking about linking the development of the sector to “making optimum use of environmental resources”.

To this end, the WTO, as an agency linked to the United Nations, sets out three key points:

  • Optimize environmental resources. Without a careful environment, there is no tourism.
  • Guarantee economic activities that endure over time and that promote the distribution of wealth.
  • Value the local culture.

And, to guide the sector to establish improvements, the World Tourism Organization, applies three indices when focusing the business:

  • Electricity and energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh) per square meter of space served.
  • Fresh water consumption in liters or cubic meters (m3) per guest per night.
  • Waste production (kg. per guest per night and/or litres per guest per night).

The negative impact that unstructured and crowded tourism has had over the years, together with awareness of environmental issues, are gradually giving sustainable tourism its own life.

If the main benefit of tourism in society is economic growth, its main claim is the environment. Its fragility, together with the impact on society, deserves a resource and destination management.

My next trip will be more sustainable

When planning your destination you should consider those that offer you care for the environmental and socioeconomic environment, as well as a good resource management . In this way you will get to leave “sustainable footprint” with your trip.

The hotel industry in general seeks to stimulate and meet the demand for responsible travel. Hence, some of the main hotel chains, among other protagonists in the sector, have come together to create the Basic Framework for Sustainability. Under this framework, which will be launched in March 2022, actions will be created that have a positive impact on the planet and people.

But several solutions are already underway to find the destiny most committed to the planet.

  1. In Beyond Green Travel, they explain that “we work with destinations, hotel companies, tour operators and non-profit groups to build their brands, create compelling stories and make travel a force for good.” By booking hotels, resorts and accommodations dedicated to sustainable tourism with this platform, you’ll find options that empower local communities, restore ecosystems, protect local culture or save endangered species.
  • A search engine for sustainable accommodation is Ecobnb. This search engine includes in its network stays that include, at least, five of the following principles:
    – Bioclimatic architecture.
    – Energy supply from renewable sources.
    – Organic food on your menus.
    – Use solar energy to heat water.
    – Use eco-friendly cleaning products.
    – Recycle at least 80% of your waste.
    – Use energy-saving light bulbs.
    – Be accessible without a car.
    – Take advantage of rainwater and have water savers on the faucets.
  • There are initiatives, such as the Network of Rural Houses and Starlight Hotels, that work against light pollution and astrotourism.
  • If you like camping outdoors but are looking for the conditions of a luxury hotel, you can join the phenomenon of glamping. In Glamping Hub you will find houses in trees, tepees, domes, caves and all kind of unique and sustainable accommodation in rural surroundings.

Once you choose the destination and the accommodation you have to consider what the means of transport is, of course. If you choose the plane, or the distance from your destination claims it loudly, and you are aware of the pollution that commercial flights generate, a good option is to use our Avikor platform. If you fly from Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas or Josep Tarradellas Barcelona. El Prat, airports,  no matter what airline you fly with, you can buy biofuel corresponding to your ticket. Take power. More sustainability, less shame to fly.

Tourist attractions committed to the environment

Well, we’ve reached our destination. There are many sustainable tourist facilities, both outside our borders and throughout the Spanish geography. All with activities and proposals to complete an environmentally sustainable experience, with contact with the place´s lifestyle, traditions, music, cuisine… and environmental awareness.

But what other tourist attractions are also committed and can help you select the place to visit? Here are some, according to a USwitch study:

  • Sydney Opera, awarded 5 stars by the Australian Council of Green Buildings.
  • The Sagrada Familia, for its respectful architecture and construction systems such as trencadís, the technique that popularized Gaudí and that allows to recycle and reuse materials.
  • Niagara Falls, with electric ferry rides and waste management through the Niagara Sustainability Initiative.
  • The Eiffel Tower, equipped with LED lights and wind turbines as well as a thermal solar array to provide hot water.
  • The Natural History Museum of London, which has a trigenerational centre that has saved more than 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
  • Legoland Windsor, with initiatives such as ‘Fridays without paper’, ‘weeks without a lift’ or environmental cleaning projects.

It is clear that the tourism industry has a high human impact on the environment, so institutions and companies are working to counteract this situation. Although, as tourists, we all also have to do our homework, choosing to travel sustainably and knowing our next destination´s commitment.