Leave Nothing But Footprints

As a travel counsellor, sustainability isn’t just a professional obligation, it’s a personal passion, writes Dan Hyams

I actively discuss the importance of sustainable travel with my clients, driven by my deep understanding of the need to protect our planet. While selling travel may inherently have a negative impact, I believe that focusing on sustainable practices is key to mitigating this impact and ensuring a brighter future. Through education and conscious choices, we can pave the way for responsible tourism and environmental stewardship.

Today’s travellers are increasingly seeking authentic experiences that minimise their environmental footprint and support local communities. Trends like slow travel, voluntourism and carbon-neutral initiatives are gaining momentum as travellers prioritise meaningful experiences over mass tourism.

Several destinations are leading the charge in sustainable tourism. Countries like Costa Rica, Bhutan and New Zealand are renowned for their commitment to conservation, eco-tourism and sustainable development.

Innovative practices are reshaping the travel landscape towards sustainability, from eco-lodges powered by renewable energy to carbon-offsetting initiatives. Initiatives such as plastic-free policies, wildlife conservation projects and sustainable transportation options are becoming mainstream, fostering a more responsible approach to travel.

Be mindful of your impact on the local destination, many tour operators now have policies to actively promote experiences which have less of a footprint and support local communities. Two industry-leading companies are G Adventures and expedition cruise company, Hurtigruten. G provide a ‘ripple score’ for all their experiences, which rates how much money remains in the local community. Hurtigruten, which banned non-essential single-use plastics before all others back in 2018, provides reusable water bottles to all guests saving thousands of bottles and they have a team of environmental ambassadors who talk enthusiastically about the climate to inspire guests.

For travellers eager to minimise their environmental footprint, here are some essential tips:
• Choose eco-friendly accommodation, certified by reputable organisations like Green Key or Rainforest Alliance.
• Support local communities by dining at locally-owned restaurants and purchasing souvenirs from local artisans.
• Opt for carbon-neutral transportation such as trains or buses whenever possible.
• Reduce waste by carrying a reusable water bottle, utensils and shopping bags.
• Engage in responsible wildlife tourism by choosing ethical sanctuaries, avoiding activities that exploit animals for entertainment.
• In addition to the above you can also offset your carbon footprint by participating in verified carbon-offsetting programmes.

Sustainable travel isn’t just a trend, it’s a mindset shift towards responsible stewardship of our planet’s resources. By making conscious choices during our travels, we can minimise our impact on the environment and contribute positively to the communities we visit. Let’s embark on a journey towards a greener, more sustainable future, one mindful trip at a time.




Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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