If you are reading this, we are pretty sure that you love travelling. But why so? What is it that fascinates you to travel? Is it because you love exploring new places and people? Or is it the natural beauty of a place that attracts you the most? Whatever your answer is, your travel plans are highly dependent on nature. That’s how the concept of sustainable travel came into existence. Stay with us as we discuss sustainable travel and Bhutan’s contribution towards it.
In simple words, sustainable travel is the bridge between travelling & nature’s upliftment. It broadly deals with the long-term coexistence of the travelling industry along with environment & nature. Sustainable travel helps to reduce the negative consequences of travelling.
Through sustainable travel, travellers can minimise the deteriorating effect of travelling on the environment, animal diversity, local businesses, heritage & cultures. Thus, researches have revealed three board aspects to which sustainable travel has direct links. Those are:
Environmental aspect: The environmental aspect deals with the consequences of the tourism industry on the local environment. Minimising the use of natural resources, valuing animal & wild-life reducing carbon emission during travel, economical use of water resources, sensible disposal of plastic waste etc are covered under this aspect.
Social aspect: The social aspect mostly surrounds local people, their culture & heritage. With travelling, the local nuances are hugely strained. The social aspect helps maintain the uniqueness & identity of the residents of the area. The local businesses that bloom around the tourist spots can be benefited under this aspect by using & promoting their products & services by the travellers. If possible, this aspect encourages travellers to get involved in local NGOs, charities & cultural organizations during the period of travelling.
Economic aspect: The economic aspect deals with the economic well-being of the place of travel. Tourists are encouraged to use local travel services, which enables the local tourism industry to bloom. Moreover, purchasing and promoting local products help small businesses to get their due exposure.
What comes to your mind when you hear about Bhutan? A clean and green mountain wonderland with some of the happiest and deeply traditional people on Earth, right? Bhutan has been a great example of sustainable travel for a long time. Back in 1974, the country introduced a “high value, low volume” policy – which was later changed to “high value, low impact” – where the country would charge a mandatory daily fee – which includes entry fee, accommodation, a travel guide, food and transport, from its foreign travellers in order to preserve its culture and natural heritage. At first glance, it may look like an unnecessary expense, but for sustainability, it is a welcome move from the country. First of all, by charging that fee Bhutan generates employment in various sectors which gives the locals a source of income. Secondly, by imposing the fee Bhutan made it sure that the country is visited by only those who have an interest in its culture and natural heritage. Thus, it would not only preserve the country’s unique culture but also help the local artisans to showcase their creations to the outside world.
While most of the world is fighting pollution, Bhutan is currently the world’s only carbon-negative country – which is a result of its unmatched sustainable travel. Bhutan is the perfect example of why sustainable travel should not just be a buzzword, but needs mass implementation. If a small landlocked country can have such a positive impact on nature, culture and economy with its sustainable travel initiatives, we can imagine the impact when every country adopts sustainable travel. There are plenty of examples around the world where mass tourism has had unwanted impact on local culture and traditions – like Bali in Indonesia or Siem Reap in Cambodia.
First of all, you need to acknowledge and understand that you have a moral obligation and responsibility towards the destination you’re travelling to, which includes respecting their culture, people and environment.
Here are some tips on what can you do as a tourist to support sustainable travel:
While making your plans:
Choose your transportation wisely:
Whether it is transportation, accommodation or food, we can be sustainable by giving preference to local businesses, opting for activities that don’t harm the environment, minimising energy usage and waste generation. Sustainable travel is an important aspect of tourism which people often neglect, but we, the travel enthusiasts can change it by spreading awareness – speak up for sustainable travel and encourage others to adopt it. What do you think about this major issue? Let us know your thoughts.
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