In a bid to leave their mark on the universe and see what lies beyond, humans travelled the world ferociously, more so post-globalisation and modernism, when the bountiful resources of the universe became freely accessible for the world populace to discover, explore, appreciate and enjoy. Somewhere there began the mistreatment and exploitation of resources that has reached a stage where Mayan Riviera, a destination without proper recycling facilities receives 10,000 people every day; Bellagio hotel in Vegas, located in an area with the problem of water scarcity, uses approximately 12 million litres of water per year; 70% of marine mammals now come under the category of threatened species, 10% of the world’s coral reefs in the Caribbean are under threat, whereas 35% of mangroves around the world have been destroyed.

holidays

These staggering numbers give us a reason to believe that 1.18 billion international tourist arrivals (in 2016), making travel an industry that now contributes approximately 10% to the total GDP of the world have only furthered the already soaring instances of environmental degradation.

Here are a few options for you to consider during your next holiday, ones that will not only inspire you to be a responsible tourist but also give you an actionable plan to motivate others as well. Here we go:

Leading guided tours for tourists

If you’ve been sufficiently curious about a place to pick it for holidaying, chances are you already know a few things about it. If not, the local tour companies would be more than happy to provide you the necessary knowledge in addition to free accommodation, return air fare as well as free meals. When you will get under the skin of a destination like this, it not only makes you see its many landmarks and resources in a new light, you also develop a genuine sense of responsibility toward them by realising the host city’s importance to the world in a manner you never imagined. Being a tourist yourself; you can be a great example for other tourists, to whom the guided tour will give you a very tangible access.

A lesson for your pursuit:

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
– Winston Churchill

Farming with the Locals

Many countries give the travellers on a working holiday a chance to interact with the local farmers and help in little ways to aid the growth of local produce. Not only will you develop compassion toward the local farmers whose livelihood depends on abundance and health of their produce, you will be surprised at how much a piece of land can nurture and grow, and how it gets affected as a result of irresponsible tourism contributing to poor soil and air quality. You will understand that if we keep affecting the natural growing conditions of the places we travel to, we must also be prepared to face the scarcity of ingredients that go into making those sumptuous international cuisines that we so gladly relish during out travels and otherwise.

A lesson for your pursuit:

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Volunteering at your chosen destination

Add to the memories of your holiday, an experience of genuinely helping someone or a cause, and you will go back home the most satisfied person that ever lived. You may choose to associate yourself with activities that raise awareness about Ecotourism or environmental conservation in general such as cleanliness drives at local tourist areas. You can be your country’s ambassador in a foreign land telling the locals that even as a tourist you realise that their culture, traditions, art, history as well as topography are too important to be lost in oblivion, and that we as citizens of the world own collective responsibility to protect it and to preserve it.

A lesson for your pursuit:

“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”

-Albert Schweitzer

Writing about your experience to motivate the fellow countrymen

There’s something about the written word that has a larger appeal than words that are spoken. Educate your fellow men, women and children about sustainable travel by writing about your experiences ashore. Bring out the best of other cultures, traditions and heritage in your writings and emphasise on why and how as tourists we can save energy and water during our journeys; how we must emphasise on the formula of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ even when travelling; how we can give back to the places by shopping only for indigenous products and donating for local causes, and lastly how we can avoid being negligent tourists and in fact be travellers embracing the local laws, rules and cultures.

A lesson for your pursuit:

“You can’t wait for inspiration; you have to go after it with a club.”

-Jack London