Did you know that the travel and tourism industry creates 5% of the world’s carbon emissions? Today, the increasing awareness of tourism’s heavy environmental footprint has created a demand for more ecofriendly, green travel options and destinations.
Travelling green doesn’t require you to go the extra mile. It’s more about being mindful of your choices while travelling, and the little things really do add up! If every traveler did their own little part, together it would make a significant difference.
Once you’re at your vacation destination, there are many opportunities to lessen your eco-impact. Seek out ways to support local businesses and eat foods that are grown or made nearby. Take advantage of public transportation, or bike and walk whenever possible. If you are requiring the use of a private car, find a rental car company that offers fuel efficient models and make sure it’s nothing bigger than what you need.
Request to reuse towels and linens while staying in hotels or other accommodations, and minimize your usage of water and electricity when possible. Ask about environmental policies in place, and recycle paper, aluminum, plastic, and glass whenever possible.
There are also many new products on the market that are ideal for eco-friendly, cost-conscious travelers, such as reusable water bottles that can be refilled instead of drinking from unrecyclable plastic water bottles. Solar chargers are now also readily available and can be used to power cell phones, radios, and other electronic devices.
Here are some simple and practical tips including a recap of the tips above for reducing your carbon footprint while travelling:
- Why not stay at a green hotel? Try something new! There are a number of helpful resources such as The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) that provide tips on finding green destinations to travel to.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle. This includes taking a reusable water bottle on all your excursions (if the drinking water is safe), disposing of your garbage properly and minimizing your energy consumption.
- If possible and if you can do so, book non-stop flights. This can help to cut down the amount of carbon emissions released from the plane taking off and landing.
- Buy local, shop local, and eat local. Not only does this support local communities but it’s the best way to immerse yourself in a new culture – everything is much more authentic! This includes dining at restaurants with locally sourced ingredients and attending local festivals. Buying locally will ensure that your money is going directly to the local community. In addition, don’t hesitate to ask where things are made or where they came from. Avoid buying things that are made from threatened resources. When shopping, it can be easy to get caught up in bargaining with vendors, but is saving that extra dollar really worth it?
- Choose local guides who are knowledgeable about the destination. This will provide a more enriched experience.
- Respect the natural environment including tourist destinations. Some activities can be damaging and can cause deterioration over time, especially if you’re in a fragile ecosystem.
At Hotel Mockingbird Hill, we are dedicated to creating awareness of our impact and sustainability. We are the leader in eco and sustainable tourism in Jamaica and the Caribbean as we incorporate sustainable principles and standards into every aspect of our operations.