Heard about regenerative travel and how it is changing the travel trends this new year? Read on to find out.
2020 has been the most eye-opening year for our generation. While the world population was fighting a pandemic, nature used the time to heal and rejuvenate itself. Now, it’s time for us to learn from nature and renew ourselves, in the way we live and explore and sustain the renewed planet. That brings to sustainable travel and being responsible travellers.
As the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) defines, sustainable tourism
“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”.
This regenerative travel approach to exploring newer places not only helps us with a travel reboot and revisit our approach to tourism, but also helps the locals get involved in tourism. To travel responsibly means being not just environmentally sustainable but also being socially so.
It all starts at home. What we do in our daily lives extends to our travel habits. So, when you are at your destination, whether in your home country or abroad, you will continue to be responsible.
Things like, minimizing plastic usage, electricity and water consumption, or recycling and separating wastes, are simple but powerful habits that can go a long way in taking responsibility for the place and people at your travel destination.
And when you travel, you can incorporate more such practices to make it truly sustainable.
For example –
Stay at an eco-friendly retreat or a homestay
Staying at a hotel can be comfortable but living within the local community is more insightful. That way you can learn about the culture, people, and place better while contributing to the community and helping with the local tourism.
Homestays are the best option but you could also opt for eco-villages/retreats. Alternatively, if you must choose a hotel, make sure that they have environment-friendly practices and have energy and water-efficient amenities.
Buy locally-made products
When travelling far from home, especially outside the country, we often get tempted to buy things that we are comfortable with. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s not just adventurous enough. Buy and eat local as much as you can.
It gives you the real taste of the local culture and a whole new experience to shopping and dining (you also get to know what they specialize in). On the ethical side of it, when you shop from the locals, you are supporting the community and the local economy, which, needless to say, is a big step in being a responsible traveller.
Be responsible with wastes
If you are managing your wastes at home, then why not do the same when you are travelling. Turn off water heaters, air conditioners, and other appliances when not in use, make the most of daylight hours, and spend time outdoors.
Separate degradable and non-degradable wastes when using the trash. If you are out for the day in nature, carry trash bags so you can collect your day’s waste and trash when you are back to your hotel/homestay, instead of littering.
Avoid using single-use items and choose reusable ones to minimize waste.
Look beyond tourism
Regenerative tourism has a lot to do with how we define the word – regeneration. When we regenerate the concept of how we explore and travel new places, recreation becomes re-creation. Look beyond the pleasures of tourism as activities and see them as learning something from the other culture. This allows you opportunities to returning to connections with each other, community and nature, something we desperately need in the post-Covid world.
Give back to the community
You could be already doing it where you live. But giving back to the community doesn’t have to be limited to your home base. This makes more sense and is nobler when you extend your efforts to the place you are travelling to, especially after the pandemic. If a destination treats you like a guest, welcoming you and letting you be a part of its people and culture, then it is the most responsible thing to return the favour. Teach a language or a skill to the locals, support female-led businesses, join a social cause or contribute to an environmental project. It will make your travel experience more meaningful by giving you an opportunity to help people and support the sustainable development of their community.
The most important principle of living in the current state of the world is to be more responsible towards the planet and to our community. And being sustainable on our travels only adds to that responsibility, helping us retain the renewed earth. Thus make sure that your next trip aligns with the regenerative travel principles!