In many of our day-to-day lives, we run through the motions, punching the clock and making our way through the week with our heads down. When living life like this, there is one thing that we are doing it for, one thing that gets us through all of it. That thing? Not working. Whether we’re waiting for the weekend, a summer break or a stat holiday, there’s nothing better than time away from work. There is, however, one occasion that stands above the rest when it comes to free time: vacation. Time booked off, typically for two weeks or more (if you’re lucky) once a year. This glorious event is the light at the end of the tunnel for many who aren’t happy with their situation at work. When that sweet time finally rolls around, the planning and effort that has gone into making sure it will be memorable is all entirely worth it. There’s literally nothing better than a vacation; however, the sad truth is this: modern tourism, in many senses, is not sustainable.
It’s not that tourism itself is inherently hurting the planet, but the way we as tourists and humans are choosing to interact with it is. Environmentally speaking, tourism has the ability to put a massive strain on small regions harming everything from soil, to natural habitats, to endangered animals. There’s no nice way to say it; that trip you’ve looked forward to all year could be contributing to a growing issue, one that could effectively crumble the very destinations that we seek to explore. A change is necessary, so how do we make one? Complacency is the tissue that this specific cancer feeds on, so we need to change our habits by trying a little harder to be mindful of our actions while vacationing.
Sustainable tourism is a solution to our current tourism and travel issues; it refers to the holistic practice of travelling and interacting with the environment in a considerate way. Tourism is a fine balance, so choosing to follow sustainable practices while travelling as a tourist has a hugely positive impact on a range of different elements within destination communities. It takes a hard look at things like the way we affect the environment and the potential damage we cause for wildlife and natural settings. It also takes into consideration the economic and social implications of tourism for communities.
Imagine a beautiful small village whose entire economy revolves around tourism. Over time, as hoards of tourists visit the area, things like emissions and pollution rise, disrupting the balance of ecosystems in which certain species live. While this is happening, the natural resources needed to accommodate the influx of visitors become more than the village can produce. Over time, the cumulative effects of the tourists not only damage the natural environment for wildlife and locals, but it renders the location undesirable. When a village that thrives and relies on tourism loses the majority of its economic income, it can become almost uninhabitable. This is why sustainable tourism matters.
To be a sustainable tourist is to support life on this planet. People are choosing to practice more sustainable tourism methods with things like taking trains instead of flying within a country, travelling with reusable containers and water bottles, supporting environmental organizations, and looking into paid tours before booking excursions. This last point is a big one, as choosing to travel with tour guides who adhere to the protection and conservation of local wildlife and the environment is something that is often overlooked. Researching the local standards and environmental issues of a location before heading out for your trip is a surefire way to begin your journey as a sustainable tourist.
At GuidED, we believe wholeheartedly in the importance of getting outside and adventuring, furthering your skills and knowledge. To adventure is to experience a side of life that teaches us about the world as much as it does about ourselves. With this in mind, we believe that at the forefront of adventure, travel, and tourism should be the practices and knowledge of how to experience the outdoor world sustainably. Without our beautiful natural settings, there would be no us, let alone adventure. GuidEd is committed to being a part of the change towards a world that puts emphasis on conservation. Our partnership with 1% For The Planet means that we donate the equivalent of one percent of our gross sales to support environmental nonprofits. On top of this, we pledge to donate at least one dollar from every booking back to conservation efforts. These efforts are one way that we choose to be environmentally sustainable tourists, but we do not stop there.
To truly address the issue of lack of sustainability in tourism, we need to examine where it stems from. At its core, environmental damage comes from attitude, actions made and lack of awareness. In order to create real change in tourism, we intend to educate outdoor enthusiasts, one tour at a time. By educating people, we veer away from a place where we force folks into doing the right thing without telling them why they are doing it, as if to say, “do this so you’re not a bad person”. Instead, we aim to break the negative habits people have built, to change the ways individuals interact with natural settings and ultimately create new muscle memory that supports positive change. Through education, we have the ability to create a wave of future outdoors people who can be the change, not because they are being told to, but because they understand the importance of it.
Every guide and traveller who runs or takes part in tours through GuidED will take the pledge to educate about, and support conservation, meaning that every tour participant will come out of each experience with a unique association with the importance of conservation. We believe that this shared knowledge of sustainability and conservation will multiply as tourists take it with them and are able to practice it in their own social groups. GuidED also encourages tourists to realize the potential of the beautiful areas around them that are often overlooked. By inspiring adventurers to experience local settings, we mitigate the reliance on destination packages that require things like air travel, thus reducing the potential for pollution.
By giving back to conservation with every booking and educating each traveller in an inspiring and fun way, the GuidED Adventure app will help people realize the importance of sustainability, and preserving the earth for our future generations.
The change that GuidEd aims to make is within people, to instill the importance of how they interact with nature, the choices they make, and the knowledge they share. Everything comes from understanding.
GuidED. Together we can save mountains!