How Does Tourism Affect The Environment?

Tourism has a huge impact on our planet because of how many people travel every year. In the UK, by 2025, this number is not only going to return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels but is expected to increase significantly thereafter, as covid becomes an endemic disease rather than a pandemic and life returns to ‘normal’.

With an ever growing population comes over-tourism and as more and more of us travel there is pressure on all of us to take on some of the responsibility to help preserve this beautiful planet, for ourselves and future generations.

Travelling is a fantastic experience that allows us to learn about different cultures and people, but it can also be harmful to the environment. You might not think that your actions matter when you are travelling, but they actually do!

What Exactly Is Sustainable Tourism

This quote sums it up well.

While people often think of sustainability as minimizing our environmental footprint, it is in fact much broader and all-encompassing than this. Sustainable tourism is all about achieving a balance between economic growth, human well-being, and environmental health. It focuses on reducing tourism’s negative impacts and on maximizing its positive benefits for communities, cultures, ecosystems, and the planet. Sustainable tourism accounts for both the immediate impacts felt today as well as those longer-term impacts that will be experienced by future generations.

sustainabletravel.org

With political pressure in the form of net zero emissions legislation by 2050, the UK tourism industry is becoming more aware of the urgency to act, because they have to, basically.  Along with the importance of the recovery plan, post covid, responsible tourism and sustainability have become the industry buzz words.

With more tourism comes more challenges to balance business with sustainability. There are now different approaches to travel that offer an alternative way of experiencing destinations, take for example experiential tourism, and a company called Unmissable England who:

Specialise in experiences, connecting visitors with the essence of a place and its people..

By encouraging visitors to use sustainable transport and stay in less well known locations, destination management  organisations ( DMOs) are helping their communities benefit from tourism without compromising the environment or quality of life for residents. They seek to ensure that businesses are socially responsible, providing benefits for all stakeholders including employees.

Educating people about sustainable tourism will be a key consideration going forward. There is a strong connection between taking small steps to be more eco-friendly at home and on holiday. At home, you can make a difference in your own community and environment, as well as supporting local businesses, the same applies to supporting communities and local businesses when you go on holiday.

But Do We Really Care?

Do we really care about sustainability when we go on holiday? That is a hard one to answer. There is a lot of pressure to conform; via political correctness, environmental pressure groups and the media. Some people are not going to be entirely honest and will say when asked that they do care, even if they do not!

It needs further investigation but I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle!

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