Practicing Sustainable Travel in 2021: How Can We Improve?

Sustainable tourism has been in the spotlight for some time now and has gained increasing traction in the recent past. But where did it all start?  

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Slowly wind, solar and hydro-electric power has taken center stage over a number of years, but the jury is still out on the safety of nuclear power stations although they create far less pollution. Aircraft designs have also improved the control of emissions and electric cars are common-place with many European countries setting dates to ban petrol-powered vehicles in the near future. 

Single-use plastics and drinking straws have also been targeted and have created a wave of new sustainable products which are reusable, while many stores no longer offer plastic shopping bags and encourage clients to bring their own cloth or recyclable varieties. There has also been an upsurge in weekend markets selling whole-foods and eschewing the use of plastics in favour of glass and paper packaging.  

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How can we promote sustainable tourism?  

The change to a more sustainable way of life – and indeed, sustainable travel and tourism – has come through education, peer pressure and tireless rights groups. Individuals are encouraged to avoid non-recyclable or harmful products, and whole countries are improving their carbon footprint. 

Hotels are also playing their part in becoming more eco-friendly in their day-to-day operations. They use less caustic chemicals, reduce electricity consumption and encourage visitors to use less water - an initiative well learned by the protracted drought in the Western Cape over the last few years. Guests are also encouraged to hang up towels for re-use and leave preprinted cards on pillows to avoid unnecessary linen changes. 

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If you’re travelling, whether locally or internationally, here are some tips on how you can practice sustainable travel and promote a responsible traveller lifestyle: 
  •  Choose eco-friendly hotels and restaurants 
  • Support operators who practice sustainable tourism protocols - this includes ethical animal interactions 
  • Never remove anything natural from the environment. 
  • Do not feed animals and birds  
  • Respect host communities at cultural properties and events 
  • Use resources like water and electricity sparingly 
  • Bring along your own shopper bags and use a reusable water bottle when travelling 
  • Pick up trash on beaches, in parks and public places and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. 
  • Keep a trash bag in your car for items that accumulate during your journey. 
  • Leave only footprints behind 

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Thompsons Holidays is a member of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands. The TTC group of worldwide companies created the TreadRight Foundation back in 2008 to manage their sustainable tourism initiatives. To date they have supported 55 sustainable tourism projects around the world. The TTC mission is clear: ‘to have a positive impact on the people and communities we visit, to protect wildlife and marine life, and to care for the planet we call home’.  

Imagine our world if all tourism operators and establishments had strict and positive sustainable practices entrenched as part of their culture. We are committed to Making Travel Matter.

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