Your travel choices make a difference, now more than ever before. Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, employing more than 235 million people worldwide and generating some 9.2 percent of the global GDP. Whether it’s booking a sustainable hotel or supporting locally-owned businesses, making sustainable choices will contribute to the well-being of communities and foster the long-term health of our planet.
How so, you ask? For one, sustainable hotels and tour operators, like the ones listed on SustainableTrip.org, have made a demonstrated commitment to protecting the local natural environment. That means implementing sustainable policies related to energy and water consumption, preservation of wildlife, reforestation of the surrounding area, and more. Sustainable tourism businesses also take an active role in supporting their communities through hiring local people and providing them with training, decent wages, and employee benefits, as well as supporting or spearheading initiatives with local schools, artisans, farmers, women’s groups, and more.
To further illustrate the importance of sustainable travel, the Rainforest Alliance has created a fun and interesting interactive tool called the “SmartLodge” that demonstrates how sustainable tourism can help benefit local communities and the environment.