Where is the most beautiful place you've ever visited? Have you ever heard of sustainable tourism? What exactly does "sustainable tourism" mean? At first thought, many people would assume that sustainability and tourism don't really go together. However, sustainable tourism has been on the rise. So, what is sustainable tourism? Is it simply staying at an eco-friendly hotel? Well, yes...but it is so much more than that. Sustainable tourism involves all 3 pillars of sustainability: Environment, Socio-cultural, and Economic.
When dreaming of that warm sunny beach, it is easy to imagine how environmental sustainability is directly involved with tourism. When a lot of people travel to the same location, it can be very damaging to the environment. Although tourism can be a source of revenue for a city, their environment must be preserved and protected in order for future generations to survive there. So, if you've already purchased a plane ticket somewhere for spring break, consider finding a sustainable hotel to help protect the place you visit, or spend a day working to protect biodiversity in the area.
Another aspect of sustainable tourism is the socio-cultural impact that travelers can have on a city. Increased tourism might congest or crowd city streets, or even increase crime in an area. Socio-cultural sustainability means minimizing negative impacts and instead promoting local traditions and cultural exchange. So wherever you visit, participate in a local event and immerse yourself in a new culture. Even if you're not traveling for spring break, you might learn a lot more about your own community by just attending a new local event.
Before you reserve a week's stay at that 5-star resort with 10 different pools, consider supporting the local economy and stay at a smaller, more sustainable business owned by the locals. Although foreign-owned giant hotels provide jobs for people in the area, the majority of the money profited by these businesses does not help the local economy. Sustainable tourism should allow the community to benefit from it, not suffer from it.
In order for the world's most beautiful places to be preserved for future generations, sustainable tourism is important. Both the traveler and the destination should benefit from tourism. So keep this in mind when planning your spring break trip, and leave a positive impact on your destination environmentally, socially, and economically.
Check out these links for some ideas on where to go!