Nikki White, head of destinations and sustainability at ABTA, the Travel Association, gives expert advice on how to make your 2014 holidays more sustainable.
This article originally appeared in Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Sustainable Tourism 2014.
Research your destination
Researching your destination is a great way to help ensure you have a better holiday. You’ll likely find out interesting things about the local climate and culture, about great things to see and do in the destination and maybe even pick up a few words of the local language (this is normally really appreciated by locals).
Choose a hotel that has a Travelife Award
The Travelife Sustainability System is a scheme that works around the world to help hotels to best manage the impacts they have on the environment and on culture. The top performing hotels receive an award for how well they perform and are then indicated in tour operators’ brochures and websites. Travelife hotels are doing great things to help ensure you have a better holiday. To find out more, visit www.travelifecollection.com.
Explore your surroundings
When you’re in the destination, make sure you get out and explore your surroundings. Speak to your tour operator, travel agent or the hotel staff to find out about the must-see sites and great things to do and see how you can work them into your holiday plans. Will it be a morning on the beach followed by an afternoon market visit where you pick up the perfect gifts or treat yourself? Or maybe a day of pampering and then a delicious dinner at a local restaurant where you excite your tastebuds after relaxing your senses?
Play your part
Many of us are now doing things in our daily lives that help to ensure we have a lower impact on the world around us – whether it’s recycling at home, for example, or sharing a lift to work. There’s a range of simple things that we can all do to help play our part whilst on holiday too, such as:
– Saving water: in many holiday destinations, water is a scarcer resource than it is in the UK, so try to remember this and perhaps try taking shorter showers
– Turn electrical items off when not in use just as you would do at home
– Leave packaging at home, that way, if there is no recycling availability within the destination you’ll make sure you can recycle packaging and will also be carrying less weight in your luggage
– Use local public transport in the destination: this is usually a great way to see more of the destination. Speak to your tour operator or hotel for tips on how to get around.
Treat yourself to something but make sure it’s something locally made. This way, not only will you have the perfect item, but you’ll have a feel-good factor too, knowing that your purchase has helped make a difference to someone in the destination. Don’t be shy of asking questions about where the item was made and what materials it’s made from.
Ask your tour operator what they are doing
Whether it’s during the booking process, before you go, whilst there or when you get back, ask your travel provider what they’re doing to help ensure we can have better holidays for many years to come.
Nikki White is head of destinations and sustainability at ABTA, the Travel Association.
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