This World Environment Day, we at The Dope want to reiterate the responsibility each one of us has in preserving our planet and safeguarding its resources. As the world grapples with an unprecedented crisis, all of us have had time to pause and reflect on our actions and how damaging they can be to the environment. As members of the travel and tourism industry, it is our continued duty to ensure we protect destinations from succumbing to over-tourism and all the harm that comes with it.
Melting glaciers, rising temperatures, choked oceans, overflowing waste are glaring symptoms of decades of disregard and mistreatment. The environment needs our help and there is no better time to start than now. We must pledge to do better and be better, at every step of the way. Here’s a short rundown on how the travel and tourism community can come together to make a difference.
Travel agents and tour operators must encourage travellers to be conscious
The first step of travelling is approaching a reliable travel agent. Therefore, travel agents have a unique duty to inform their clients about the best practices they can adopt to help preserve the environment during the course of their trips. Tour operators should promote hotels that are sustainable, encourage tours that are environmentally-friendly. The benefits of cycling tours, walking tours and other sustainable options should be highlighted. It is imperative to encourage customers to reduce the waste they produce and be mindful of their carbon footprint. Agencies should also promote local businesses at destinations as it is one of the most effective ways to ensure sustainability.
The hospitality industry has to start a dialogue with their customers
It is often at the places we stay that we indulge in excesses. Right from the towels we keep changing to the tap we leave running, every single step contributes to a larger problem. Hotels should make sustainability their prime focus and let their customers know what the myriad benefits of ‘going green’ are. It is important to include customers in their strategy to help promote sustainability. Once customers are made aware of how every little thing they do can have a ripple effect, they will start being more conscious. Starting a conversation and promoting dialogue is very important. Hotels have the resources to make a huge impact in the way they function and must strive to incorporate major changes that will benefit the environment in the long run.
The airline industry needs to take more impactful steps
The airline industry is perhaps most persecuted for their disregard of the environment. However, several airlines have begun to use fuel alternatives that are less harmful to the environment. Carbon offsetting has also been introduced to ensure customers feel like they are contributing to preserving the environment despite having flown on a plane. The airline industry has a long way to go in terms of being eco-friendly, but the small steps it has begun to take signal a better future to come.
Travellers need to learn to be more eco-friendly
Finally, if travellers refuse to see the negative outcomes of their actions nothing will change. As a traveller, each one of us must be constantly aware of what we leave behind. Littering, wasting water, indulging in unnecessary luxury experiences are contributors to permanent damage to the environment. We might assume that we’re only ‘one person’ and the kind of impact we make is minimal. There is nothing further from the truth. Every single one of us has the potential to make massive changes and it is crucial for us to recognise the power we have.