We are responsible for the impact we leave on this planet.
Our environment is in critical condition, so it’s important that we exert all our efforts to stop further damage. This is especially true when it comes to travel. Carbon footprint left by planes, improper waste management, and depletion of natural resources are only some of the ways we hurt the environment when we travel. The burden of sustainable tourism may seem to fall on the shoulders of the local government and private sectors, but us travelers can take part in simple but significant ways.
I teamed up with Cebu Pacific for their campaign on sustainable tourism called “Juan Effect.” The campaign aims to promote the best practices when traveling. When you make your way to your next trip, remember:
1. Do your research.
Go to destinations that prioritize sustainability. Research if they have rules and regulations that help protect the environment. Know the issues that are currently happening in the area. Sustainable Travel International recommends visiting protected areas because the fees help in its conservation efforts.
2. Support businesses that take part in sustainable practices.
It’s best to support local businesses and restaurants, or establishments that directly benefit the community. Not only will you be helping them with their livelihood, but you will also get to immerse yourself deeper into their culture. Give your money to businesses that comply with the local government’s environmental rules and regulations.
3. Give back to the community.
Join volunteer programs such as clean-up drives. An extra pair of hands will make a huge difference. Be careful though, especially if you plan to donate. National Geographic explains that it is better to donate to reputable local organizations. “Many well-intentioned travelers bring used clothing, books, and pencils to hand out to children and villagers in developing nations. Sadly, this kind of giving often has unintended consequences—it can sow community conflict and encourage a culture of dependency and begging.”
4. Reduce your waste.
Make sure you dispose your trash properly. In Siargao, they currently do not have a waste management system. All of the waste goes into an open dump site, which will lead to many environmental conflicts if not resolved immediately. Say no to plastic.
5. Preserve the environment.
Be conservative with your electricity and water usage. The demand for water and other resources in popular tourist spots are staggeringly high. Also, be mindful of tourist activities that affect animal welfare. This includes elephant rides, lion petting, and diving with whale sharks.
Becoming a sustainable traveler does not mean you are sucking out all the fun. It will ensure that the people who come after you will have an amazing experience like you had, for years to come.
Make a pledge to become a responsible traveler here.
Watch this video about how we are tackling sustainable tourism in Siargao:
What are other ways to become a sustainable traveler? Share it in the comments!