Travel junkies around the world now feel safer when fully vaccinated. While Covid-19 has changed the way we perceive travel and culture, it has also spawned a phenomenon based on sustainability and preserving cultural and natural resources – responsible tourism.

“The pandemic has given us space to introduce disruptions and innovations, adapt sustainable alternatives and use technology to achieve responsible and tangible business solutions. We expect the immersive travel trend to pick up in a post-Covid world, with a stronger focus on sustainability and responsible travel, ”said Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head, South African Tourism.

But responsible tourism is not always sustainable tourism. “Responsible travel has evolved from being a niche category to being an integral part of all travel genres. The pandemic made travelers think about how their travel plans would affect the communities and ecosystems they interact with, while also putting in the spotlight to give back to society, “said Ashish Dhruva, senior vice president, Marketing and Customer Engagement, InterMiles .

Lifestyle influencer Sarah Zarein Raza believes that being a conscious traveler can help empower regional communities, their culture, and their economies. “Staying in local hostels / hotels makes my travel not only responsible, but also sustainable. The city or the country I’m visiting also benefits from this, ”she adds.

Gaurav Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Savaari Car Rentals, also vouches for responsible travel. “Unusual travel not only reduces the carbon footprint of popular tourist spots, but also distributes tourists to lesser-known destinations and helps revitalize local communities by promoting small businesses – hotels, host families, arts, crafts, cafes and Restaurants. ”Aggarwal adds.

Many are now opting for more environmentally friendly means of transport while on vacation

With the growing number of consumers seeking sustainable travel experiences, companies are signing up for various initiatives to improve the environment. Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, for example, has signed RE100 (Renewable Energy) and EP100 (Energy Productivity) and has set goals to operate 100% renewable energy by 2050 and to double energy productivity by 2030. “We are also committed to the science-based Based Target Initiative, which requires us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global temperature increases to below two degrees Celsius. Our commitment to water security, by pursuing missions such as Zero Liquid Discharge and Zero Waste to Landfill in addition to biodiversity, helps us to make a major contribution to responsible travel, ”says Vivek Khanna, COO.

Even the Hong Kong Tourism Board is stepping up its promotion of responsible tourism with the Great Outdoors Hong Kong Campaign, which encourages locals and overseas visitors to explore green landscapes with tranquil hiking trails, mountains, grasslands, beaches or spectacular views of the Port blessed are ferry to a barrier island. “In order to increase the confidence of the visitors to travel here, in cooperation with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) they introduced the ‘Certification Program for Hygiene Measures against Epidemics’. Under this program, over 2,900 tourism and related sector organizations will follow a standardized sanitary protocol to ensure visitors have a safe and healthy stay, ”said Puneet Kumar, Director, South Asia & Middle East Hong Kong Tourism Board

Favoring the local community

Responsible tourism helps create jobs in local communities. “Travelers can opt for local guides or workers from the surrounding villages or towns,” suggests Nkani. Plus, tourists can have an enriching experience by building meaningful connections with locals to understand cultural, social, and environmental issues that are prevalent in the particular region. This is certainly a win-win situation.

Dispose of face masks and other such products properly

Dispose of face masks and other such products properly

Preservation of the environment

Start with simple steps like walking instead of driving, and carrying reusable water bottles instead of plastic bottles. “Renting bikes or getting on local transport is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint,” says Nkani. To encourage responsible travel, it is also imperative that mobility companies switch to CNG cars. Not only are they environmentally friendly; they are also cheaper.

Consideration for future generations

Responsible tourism helps promote sustainable tourism by realizing that our children will one day travel to the same places and that they should therefore be properly cared for themselves at this stage. “By teaching our children the importance of responsible tourism, we can improve travel for future generations,” says Raza.