With the start of the new year who doesn’t feel the travel bug? Winter is dreary and there are so many places to go and explore! But in this age of climate emergency, travel has become a bit of a thorny issue.
Of course, we all want the adventure but we don’t want to accrue an ever-larger CO2 footprint. Constant news of fires, floods, and melting glaciers are heart-breaking to take in. How can we travel and in a manner that doesn’t make all this even worse?
It is not an easy question. But it is important to acknowledge that travel can be both, a force for good – or bad. Yes, all travel has an impact, but sometimes that impact can be positive both for the tourist and for the host community.
A growing number of hotels and tour operators are becoming aware of their responsibility and the importance of their role in this interaction. Nature is vulnerable to excessive development. But, money raised by tourism can also help to pay for schools, better recycling, clean water or other vital infrastructure.
Some tour-operators support charities that address social and environmental issues. But others are setting up their own organisations to help protect the environment and the communities within which they operate. (see ‘one million trees for Machu Picchu’) These operators have become beacons of hope for countless people – and endangered species. And such operations are made possible by you, the travelers that come and enjoy their services.
For many people, such experiences can be life-changing. They return home not only refreshed but also enriched with knowledge and understanding, often becoming advocates for social and environmental responsibility.
So, yes, we don’t abandon our responsibility when we step off a plane or train in another country, just because we are on holiday. A two-way exchange is possible and far more rewarding than the standard consumable holiday package.
In our offerings, we are careful to select operators that are conscious about these things and are doing their best within their possibilities. What exactly is possible varies from one outfit to another, depending on the location or size of the operation. We mention each operator’s efforts (according to their own description), which you can review in the eco-credentials tab. We do this to help you decide what kind of efforts you want to support and so that you will know what positive impacts your travels will have.
Wherever you go in 2020, we wish you enriching experiences and safe journeys!