Is Travel Sustainable?
The pursuit of sustainability within each working sector is by no means an easy feat. It requires sustainability for the environment but also communities and the economies that they rely on, to survive. One of the world’s largest sectors contributing to climate change is the travel industry, (given how it is a considerable contributor to the depletion of natural resources.)
With industries making moves towards being eco conscious and responsible, consumers can also seek to minimise their own impact and carbon footprint. To truly understand what sustainable travel is, we must make ourselves familiar with the many pillars of sustainability. By understanding each aspect, consumers can begin to improve upon their actions, to in turn reduce the negative impact that the travel industry has.
“Sustainable travel means finding a way that tourism can be maintained long-term without harming natural and cultural environments. Sustainable travel should minimise the negative impacts of tourism and ideally be beneficial to the area in which it takes place.” Sustainability is nuanced, covering many aspects. It is no wonder that the tourism industry has a long way to go in reaching sustainability in every aspect, but it is certainly achievable.
Pillars of sustainable Travel
The main sectors of sustainability are as follows: Environmental, Economic, Community and Cultural. When working together in tandem, true sustainability can be achieved.
Environmental sustainability is defined as ‘avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.’ In relation to the travel sector, the environment is the most at-risk factor due to over tourism and overconsumption of natural resources, indigenous to an area. Whilst “tourism has the potential to create beneficial effects on the environment by contributing to environmental protection and conservation”, more often than not, “the negative impacts of tourism development can gradually destroy environmental resources on which it depends.” By ensuring that aspects such as flora, fauna and wildlife are given precedence over visitors, these natural resources can be appreciated, opposed to exploited.