According to the report from the Center for Responsible Travel, an increasing number of people are becoming more aware of the importance of eco-tourism, responsible tourism, and ethical and sustainable travelling. Survey results show we are witnessing an era of “New Tourism“ where tourists shy away from mass-tourism offers and turn to independent travelling that helps them explore the world under their own terms – the green way. These new travellers are focused on shrinking their travel footprint to a minimum and they seek authentic off-the-beaten-track experiences.
If you too are trying to figure out a way to become an eco-aware globetrotter, try travelling in a group. In addition to obvious benefits such as sharing costs and having more fun, this choice is also good for the planet. Here’s how –
Home sharing is about sharing resources
When it comes to the tourism industry – transportation, accommodation, and even eating have been revolutionised by the sharing economy. A recent study by the Cleantech Group showed undeniable advantages of home sharing when it comes to sustainable travelling. Sharing accommodation results in a more efficient usage of the resources: we’re talking about less waste, reduction of energy and water use, and increased responsibility regarding the usage of food resources.
The reason why the majority of people don’t really put much thought into this is because you cannot feel the consequences of your actions right away. Sharing a place with your friends or choosing to stay with the locals nurtures a healthier approach to travelling. As the mentioned study said, guests who embrace the home sharing concept (like Airbnb or Homestay.com) are likely to use 63% less energy than hotel guests. In addition to taking care of the environment, it’s also cheaper and gives you more freedom.
Sharing transportation reduces carbon emissions
When it comes to transportation choices, you need to look for a way to get from A to B with the minimum carbon emission. It’s your small contribution to slowing down the global warming process. When taking a group trip, you’re likely to travel by bus. Buses make the best option as they are perfect for travelling on a budget and are the most eco-friendly means of transportation (apart from cycling and sailing). Flying may be the most comfortable, but it is the least environment-friendly: to illustrate a point, an average U.S. citizen generates carbon emissions of 17 metric tons per year. Trains are slightly better, but the fuel efficiency per passenger isn’t that good.
Being in Sydney, I was lucky enough to enjoy a well-developed bus charter system that took me and my friends across the country. Your trip might last longer but I personally love bus rides. You get to see a lot of things while travelling to your destination, it triggers a daydreaming state of mind, you can relax and have fun with your friends, and most importantly – you’re taking care of your planet.
When you reach your destination, make sure to go cycling or explore on foot. Alternatively, use public transport or shared transport (such as Uber services).
Group adventures can be more eco-friendly
Travelling in a group makes your journey much more fun and it fuels up your thirst for adventure. In the aforementioned report, adventure tourism has been defined as a trip that includes physical activity, natural environment, and cultural immersion. It can be hiking, cycling, rock climbing, rafting, snorkelling, etc. These type of journeys are recognised as one of the fastest growing tourism branches enabling travellers to experience a foreign country in a unique way. With its great value ($263 billion), it is estimated that around 65% of the revenue stays within the local communities. This way, much-needed support is provided to local economies and so they are encouraged to obtain sustainable practices.
I learned more about this when I was in Costa Rica visiting its Animal Rescue Center and rainforests. The locals are really protective of the precious eco-system they have but still – they let you encounter animals and incredible biodiversity in a controlled manner. Plus, there are always smarter choices you can make: instead of going on a 4WD ride, choose cycling or walking. You’ll get more chance to soak in the scenery and within the group of friends – it can never be boring.
Travelling in a group can induce responsible travelling behaviour. Remind each other to be conscious of the travel footprint: we cannot treat Earth’s resources like they are inexhaustible.
About the Author
Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing by following her on twitter.
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