The Evolving Nature of Sustainable Tourism

Traveling is such a beautiful privilege to enjoy. Finding new and exciting places to explore really broadens one’s horizons. Not to mention that traveling is just plain fun! There’s nothing quite like savoring a glass of beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon or discovering a new favorite dish while vacationing. 

However, traveling and tourism have been taking a toll in some places. Tourists are not always respectful of the places they visit, sadly. This can be unintentional, but even so, damage to popular tourist destinations is unfortunately not uncommon these days. 

Fortunately, interest in sustainable tourism is picking up as of late. Read on to explore a little more about sustainable tourism and what it could mean for traveling in the future.

The Guiding Principles

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), part of the United Nations, provides this helpful statement around sustainable tourism and development: 

"Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities."

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) notes that: “sustainable tourism refers to sustainable practices in and by the tourism industry.” They also recognize that there are both positive and negative sides to the travel industry in terms of the impacts that tourism can have on a variety of things.

Positive Effects

Tourism definitely has some very positive impacts. For one thing, a busy tourism season often translates into multiple jobs created for local residents. That, along with the dollars spent by tourists, can boost the local economy a bit more. 

Sometimes, tourism also means that animals are more protected. Wildlife sanctuaries are a good example of this, as some sanctuaries provide a safe haven for animals unable to live in the wild. The sanctuary may then collect entrance fees or donations which can benefit the animals as well as the local economy. 

Negative Effects

On the other hand, there can be a downside to tourism. Overcrowding has become a problem in many areas, especially recently. This can lead to the natural environment being trampled, damaged or even completely destroyed in some cases. 

Unfortunately, some tourists litter or don’t pick up after themselves. Sometimes that results in minor damage, and other times a carelessly discarded cigarette butt or unattended campfire could spark a raging wildfire. 

How Can We Travel More Sustainably? 

It’s important to be mindful of your impact as you travel. Try not to damage anything or be careless as you explore new areas. That includes being respectful of the local culture and people as you visit various places. 

You can also think about your carbon footprint when traveling. Try taking public transportation or even better, riding a bike as you roam around a new town. 

You could even purchase carbon offsets to help reduce your carbon footprint from a flight. Some airlines put more effort into reducing their carbon footprint, so doing some research on the most eco-friendly airlines can help you travel more sustainably as well. 

Blockchain Can Help

Technology may even be able to help us with traveling more sustainably. A January 2021 study explored the potential of blockchain technology to be of assistance when it comes to sustainable tourism. While the study ultimately noted that blockchain isn’t quite advanced enough to have an impact on sustainable tourism yet, there are a few key areas where it may be helpful in the future. 

For instance, blockchain could help contribute to the economy on a local level while also ensuring that tourists are able to enjoy their experiences. Furthermore, blockchain may be able to help raise awareness of sustainable tourism in general.

To the Future of Travel

If you have a trip planned, consider researching some sustainable tourism options ahead of time. If you’re dreaming of your next getaway, take a look into the possibilities of blockchain as you plot your next adventure.

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