Guest Post by And Lloyd
Ecotourism has become something of a buzzword in recent years, but what does it really mean? Hotels that change towels and sheets every third day call themselves sustainable, but this is an over-simplification. According to Newsweek, this is a symptom of greenwashing: how everyone has been led to believe that going green refers only to environmental issues, such as recycling and turning off the heating. However, according to TIES (The International Ecotourism Society) sustainable tourism includes responsible travel that leads to the conservation of natural resources and the upliftment of local communities. Here are some reasons why sustainable tourism should become more popular in Australia – minus the greenwashing.
It’s is no longer a niche market
A few years ago, to travel sustainably meant you had to go way off the beaten track and spend your holiday with hill tribes. According to Watoday.com.au, sustainable travel is becoming more mainstream. An excellent example is that of Kangaroo Valley. It was the first town in Australia to ban plastic bags and its green principles draw people from all over the world. Sustainability is encouraged by the usual environmental methods, like enforcing recycling and collecting rainwater. But it’s also achieved by supporting local businesses. One of the most popular restaurants in Kangaroo Valley has its own permaculture garden, so you know all of your meals come from organic, locally produced vegetables.
Even a trip to Sydney can be sustainable
You don’t need to visit Kangaroo Valley to be an eco-tourist. Newsweek uses the example of taking a trip to Washington D.C. You could make it sustainable by supporting local businesses and by buying local produce at farmers’ markets instead of eating at McDonald’s. Of course, you could also be more energy efficient in your hotel by turning off the air-conditioning when you leave and bringing your own toiletries with you. You could even make a point of only using public transport, which will contribute to the local economy. Or, even better, you could rent a bicycle!
Australians need to see Australia
Australians are known for their worldwide backpacking exploits, and this is because not enough is being done to encourage domestic travel. According to HospitalityMagazine.com.au, locals need more compelling reasons to explore their own vast, natural wonderland. Sustainable domestic travel has huge untapped potential. If promoted correctly, it would benefit the local economy by enabling job creation and saving the planet. Most importantly, it would ultimately fulfill the aims of TIES by improving the well being of people.
Ang Lloyd writes on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes higher education in Australia, including IT diplomas and tourism and hospitality courses.