As we have already mentioned on several occasions, at 3els we are committed to sustainable tourism.
But... What's sustainable tourism?
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) it is “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities".
In other words, the principles of sustainability refer both to the environmental as well as to the economic and sociocultural aspects. The objective is to establish an adequate balance between these three dimensions. This way, we guarantee that they will be maintained in the long term without exhausting resources or causing damage to the environment.
And... What does being a responsible tourist involve?
1) Prioritize non-polluting transport such as electric vehicles, for example. There are also wonderful routes by bicycle or on foot both in cities and in natural environments. You will discover places in a different way, especially if you do it accompanied by expert local guides.
2) Respect the culture and tradition. There is a growing demand for cultural immersion with the population of the visited destination. Tourists are attracted to a different culture and want to experience it in the first person. These activities are a great support to the local economy but it is essential to do them with absolute respect. It requires having great empathy for the different ways of living and thinking.
3) Avoid participating in activities that generate negative impact. Those that promote exploitation of minors, violation of human rights, services not regulated by law, polluting activities, etc. Fortunately, there are more and more responsible projects to support during our visits. Restaurants that consume local products, wineries with organic production, sustainable management hotels, solidarity projects, etc. This way, we contribute to a fairer distribution of resources and the generation of socio-economic benefits in the community.
4) Respect the environment. We must minimize our impact when we visit natural environments. Do not generate waste or misuse natural resources such as water. Although we are on vacation, we can reduce our consumption with daily gestures. Showering instead of filling the bathtub or using the towels for a couple of days (instead of being changed daily) will save a few liters!
5) Do not participate in activities that involve the exploitation of animals. We can find it very attractive and fun to ride an elephant, feed a giraffe, pet a Koala or participate in traditional festivals where animals are used. Many of us (myself included) have done it at some point without thinking about what is behind these activities. The sad reality is that, in most cases, they are linked to the mistreatment of these animals. They are separated from their natural environment, deprived of their freedom and subjected to extremely stressful situations. For these reasons, it is worth thinking if we want to be a part of it before booking these experiences.
Although we could go into much more detail, I think that these 5 points are a good summary of the main actions to take into account to be a responsible tourist. In fact, I would extrapolate it to life in general because it is our duty to respect ourselves, all living beings and our environment. It is not about taking it to extremes (extremes are never good) but about being aware of what our actions imply and being responsible in all areas. That should be our modus vivendi, or at least that is how we understand it. For this reason, at 3els we work every day to offer, as far as possible, fair, ecological and caring services.