23 Jan 2013, 12:41
'Eco' and 'sustainable' are words with positive selling points to consumers, but for the travel industry the concept is relatively new, if not completely foreign. A large proportion of travellers already know how to 'do their bit' by conserving energy and water or simply looking into eco-friendly devices. But as a whole, to what extent does sustainability impact on the travel industry?
Sustainability - a priority with huge potential
Many travellers would like to see travel companies develop an environmental conscience, but for the businesses themselves it can be relatively difficult to initiate. Cost and affordability are usually the main factors. Unfortunately, with eco-travel still viewed as a niche, luxury eco-lodges and hotels with innovative ways of being environmentally-friendly still exceed the budget range for many holiday makers.
But is sustainable travel really that expensive? Promoting local products has been one way to raise eco awareness picked up by national tourism sectors around the world. For example, local holidays were promoted during the global slowdown as a way of avoiding forking out money on travel.
Travelling, eating, and sleeping local - and therefore avoiding chain restaurants and hotels - also helps out the smaller economies. Getting in touch with nature by relying on one's own strength and orientation can also be included in ecological travel. People camping in New Zealand, for example, can experience a country directly without relying on services meant for mass tourism. While being immersed in beautiful landscape, holiday makers are also asked to respect it by being responsible of their waste disposal.
Unfortunately, for naturally blessed areas that have been slowly damaged by mass tourism, reversing the effects is a slow task, highlighting the need for land preservation. It also demonstrates that sustainability is not yet integrated into the tourism industry.
Preparing for a trip
Although consumers increasingly want to travel sustainably, price is always a significant factor in the final decision.
For the environmentally mindful wanting to indulge in an overseas getaway, the fact of the matter is getting to the holiday destination by plane will always outweigh eco-friendly ways, like a canoe - at least for now.
However, planning ahead to find sustainable yet affordable travel, accommodation, and activities, will still be the norm for this niche market over the coming years until there is a major shift in mass tourism.
This article was provided by Zoover
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