January 19, 2022
CM Content Team
The past couple of years have redefined our ideas of holidays and travel. Having spent those years under an enforced lockdown, we now understand the relationship between travel and sustainability better. Since we’ll now be starting from scratch, it’s the perfect time to become a sustainable traveller and still make the most of our holidays. Although more eco-friendly destinations are being developed, the onus of eco-friendly tourism is on us.
When you really consider it, environmentally friendly travel is not that difficult. You can be a sustainable traveller with a few tweaks to your travel habits. All sustainable travel requires is some common sense and a sense of ownership. Do not leave behind a trail of disturbance and waste, be a trailblazer instead. Here are some simple ways in which you can be a responsible traveller and ensure sustainable tourism in 2024.
Start your eco-friendly travel journey with this simple rule, don’t print tickets. Nowadays, all ticketing and travel agencies, cinema halls and even public transport bodies accept electronic tickets. Printing a single-use document like a ticket is an avoidable waste. Use the appropriate app on your smartphone to book and present tickets. Be a sustainable traveller, save paper and reduce garbage.
Unless you are taking a road trip, you will need to hire a vehicle to get around at your holiday destination. Use public transport whenever you can for environmentally friendly travel. While this may not be a practical solution every time, it has multiple benefits. You save the rental money, reduce your carbon footprint, and get to meet the locals.
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Many eco-friendly destinations like Matheran have completely banned the use of motorised vehicles. Use this opportunity to get back to basics. Rent a bicycle to get around, especially on hill stations. The fresh mountain air is a rejuvenating salve for pollution-affected lungs. It has manifold advantages. You get plenty of exercise, have fun and get to be a sustainable traveller.
Using plastics is a big no-no if you want to become a sustainable traveller. Getting rid of plastic altogether can be a practical challenge as some things like wet clothes and shoes will still need plastic. You can start small. Carry a stainless-steel water bottle instead of a plastic one. Use sturdy jute bags. Travel and sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive.
Eco-friendly tourism is closely related with nature. Most eco-tourism destinations are located in or around thriving ecological hotspots. As a sustainable traveller, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not disturb the delicate balance of these natural hotspots. Think before you act. Do not damage plants or pluck flowers as even these simple actions can have far-reaching consequences.
Wildlife is the biggest sufferer of our irresponsible actions. Rampant deforestation, exploitation of natural resources, and wanton destruction of their natural habitat have already pushed many species to the brink of extinction. Whenever you are in the vicinity of wild animals like in a zoo, national park, or wildlife sanctuary, do not disturb wildlife. Many irresponsible tourists are known to goad and prod animals to get a reaction out of them. It is mentally agonising for animals A sustainable traveller only observes, and that too from a prudent distance so as not to be a source of alarm or disturbance.
Littering is the biggest issue that all tourist destinations face. Carelessly strewn garbage is a sad reality at all popular tourist destinations despite plenty of garbage cans being available. Play your part as a sustainable traveller and make it a habit to carry a garbage bag with you whenever you go sightseeing. Put all your trash in it until you get back to your hotel.
Camping outdoors is a pleasurable activity. The freedom of getting away from it all and living amidst nature has a distinct appeal that not all travellers can appreciate. When you’re in nature, you must do your utmost to leave minimal signs of your disturbance. As a sustainable traveller, be aware of certain things. Forest fire is a real hazard, so be very careful with your campfire. Extinguish it completely before leaving. Collect all your trash in a bag and take it along when you leave. Do not leave any food behind to avoid getting wild animals used to easy meals. Dig deep holes for toilets, far away from the main campsite and potable water bodies and use bio-degradable toilet paper.
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While all these tips cannot be applicable at all holiday destinations, use them wherever you can. The journey to eco-consciousness starts with one step and each one counts. Spread the word, lead by example, and do your part to heal the world.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.