Weed out eco claims that are not all they seem.
The words ‘eco’ and ‘sustainable’ are being used in travel and tourism more than ever, making it increasingly difficult to spot travel options that are truly better for the planet. But identifying those businesses that are walking the walk just takes a keen eye…
To spot a sustainable business, it’s always a good idea to start with its website and social media and look out for specific information on its practices. If it’s taking measurable steps to, say, reduce food waste, save energy or manage water usage, then that’s a good start. When it comes to sustainability certifications, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council is a good place to look for information.
Travalyst partners such as Booking.com, Expedia and Google are working on displaying easy to understand sustainability information for accommodations. Our collective aim is to help consumers understand where each operator is on their journey towards sustainability; find out more here.
It’s easy to be fooled by the sustainable-sounding marketing of excursions such as ‘nature tours’. Be cautious when booking any wildlife-related activity by checking what the operator says about how it safeguards animals, and steer clear of any that offer the opportunity to interact with or feed animals in their natural habitat.
Opt for locally-owned accommodation, tour providers, restaurants and shops to ensure your tourist dollars are going back to the community you are visiting, rather than being syphoned off by external stakeholders. This also applies to the goods and services you purchase on holiday. A cultural experience, for example, might claim to showcase local culture, but is it authentic and run by and for the community, or is there a risk of voyeurism, or even exploitation? Similarly, see if businesses employ members of the local community at all levels – from receptionist to hotel manager.
When researching a potential holiday destination or activity, look further than a fleeting mention of ‘sustainability’ or ‘CSR’ – and keep in mind that the most sustainable business may not be the one with the flashiest website. Is it all just keywords and glossy photos, or does it link through to substantial information on what the business is doing to minimise its impact on people and planet?
Accommodations, providers and tour operators making genuine efforts in their sustainability journeys will be happy to talk about their initiatives, so if you’re ever unsure about anything, just ask.