Sustainable tourism is spreading more and more: here are some tips and recommended destinations for practicing environmentally friendly tourism
Today we hear more and more about responsible tourism. In an era in which travel has become an integral part of our life experience, the way in which one's desire to travel and visit other places is fulfilled is the mirror of one's ethical and social values. Moreover, in recent years, it has been realized how tourism, if not managed responsibly, can have a negative impact on the places where it takes place. According to some studies, tourism contributes 8% to total greenhouse gas emissions and is often the cause of pollution or deterioration of the artistic heritage.
Just think about what the endless summer queues or the electricity consumed in holiday centers cause for the environment. For this not to happen, it is very important to take into consideration all the aspects that revolve around your holidays: respect for nature, people and places you meet must be put in the first place. This is why sustainable and responsible tourism was born over time.
- Responsible tourism what it is and how it is born
- Why do responsible tourism
- How to do responsible tourism
- Examples of responsible tourism
Responsible tourism what it is and how it is born
Responsible tourism, initially defined as sustainable tourism, is a form of tourism born in the late 1980s with the aim of putting the principles of ethics, sustainability, respect for places and cultures at the center of one's travel experience. If at first this form of tourism represented a niche interest, in recent years it has developed more broadly, also tying itself to other values such as ecology, respect for the environment, organic and zero-km production. In fact, these are issues that are all linked to each other and that fall within a framework in which the protection of the territory and of the people who live there is put in the first place.
However, it is not possible to give a single definition of responsible tourism as there are more specific sub-categories, such as conscious tourism, cultural tourism, fair trade tourism, ecotourism. Responsible tourism can present itself as a whole made up of all these aspects or be the expression of only one of these modalities, without however creating a conflict with the others. It would not be true responsible tourism if it took into account only one of these aspects to the detriment of the others: a tourism that respects ecology cannot be at the expense, for example, of the people who live in that environment or of the working conditions in that area. which they operate, etc.
Responsible tourism destinations
In recent years, responsible tourism has turned towards internal destinations in our country. It is a strategy that aims to enhance the Italian and local forms of tourism, enhancing their peculiar aspects and safeguarding not traditions and localities but also trying to improve working conditions, to respect nature and environment, also by promoting organic products at zero km in solidarity. Energy saving and the use of renewable sources for energy production are also particularly important features of this type of tourism, which must lead to development and growth of the territory with a zero or very limited impact.
Why do responsible tourism
Responsible tourism is not just a whim or a fashion. Today it represents more of a lifestyle choice, in line with others with other lifestyles that can be pursued in everyday life. The choice of responsible tourism reflects a whole series of values such as respect for the environment, respect for human life, the protection of local excellence, the enhancement of biodiversity, the socio-economic development of certain territorial areas that deserve the right attention and just respect.
The choice of this to apply this type of tourism for their travels, therefore, can only go hand in hand with other choices made in everyday life.
For example, reducing the use of cars, favoring public transport and walking or cycling, is an important sign of respect for the environment, energy savings but also the protection of personal health and well-being. Sustainable trips are holidays that can put tourists to the test when, for example, paths of a certain physical commitment are proposed in which traveling on foot, for example, allows you to experience the places visited calmly and slowly. All this allows you to get to know places that are near or far and to experience them from a different point of view than that of the hectic everyday life or hit and run tourism.
How to do responsible tourism
Although responsible tourism has become a bit fashionable in some circles, it should be borne in mind that doing responsible tourism seriously is not easy at all. In fact, it is not enough to have respect for the inhabitants of the visited countries and places: this should be part of a basic education. Moving in a sustainable and responsible way also implies a whole other set of attitudes:
- The trips themselves should be organized in such a way as to minimize the environmental impact. For example, to reduce or limit the indispensable travel by private means, such as the car, and to prefer other forms of travel such as trains, public transport in general, or even where you can choose to make some journeys by bicycle or on foot.
- The places to stay overnight should also be in line with all the values of responsible tourism. If you choose to use farmhouses or hotels, it would be advisable for them to be certified as organic. Otherwise it is still important to evaluate that in their internal organization system they have chosen to use, for example, forms of sustainable heating, clean energy, or that they have a conscious management of waste, etc. The materials with which the structures are built should also be environmentally friendly.
- Even the places to have lunch or dinner should be inspired by the principles of environmental sustainability, therefore with organic or zero-km products. When choosing dishes, it is always advisable to prefer local and seasonal products. Not only is it an intelligent practice that helps the environment, but it is beneficial for one's health and helps to develop local economies, especially if they are a developing way.
- During the stay, care should be taken to minimize waste. Even certain conveniences cost us the same amount regardless of the use we make of them, it is important not to abuse them. For example, you can try not to waste water, not to keep the air conditioning or electricity on for too long.
- During visits it is very important to respect the places, avoiding leaving garbage around, but also not collecting plants or shells and not damaging the surrounding environment.
Examples of responsible tourism
Responsible tourism in Italy offers many ideas from which to take an example. Here are some of them:
- Ecotourism Piedmont: Piedmont is a region that has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, thanks to a wide range of places to discover such as cultural, landscape and food and wine excellence. In this region there are many bicycle routes that aim to slowly visit the Piedmontese places while respecting nature and the environment and enjoying the local wonders.
- Responsible hospitality in Versilia: in Tuscany, a region with a tourist vocation, local experiences of responsible tourism have arisen, in which we try to overcome the stereotypes of the classic tourist holiday. In this project, zero kilometer producers are preferred with visits and tastings in the company. In addition, hiking experiences are organized with authorized guides who prepare the routes in respect of nature and slowness. Finally, the reception places are in traditional houses outside the classic tourist destinations, in the green and in unspoiled places.
- Slow itineraries in Venice: in a city that is known for mass tourism, it is possible to try new routes that allow you to experience the city in its true essence. All routes are designed respecting the balance between man and nature, outside the most crowded routes and discounted itineraries.
- Trekking in the Supramonte: an area of Sardinia known for being the deepest canyon in Europe, the Gorroppu gorge is perfect for a series of particularly demanding excursions. Poor accessibility is one of the characteristics that have so far protected the area from mass tourism. Precisely for this reason, excursions are organized here with the utmost respect for nature and the protection of the environment.
- Salento by bicycle: another area that allows for very pleasant holidays on two wheels is that of Salento, in Puglia. Here there is a wonderful environment, which in recent years has been re-evaluated with the aim of protecting it from mass tourism. The Salento Bici Tour is a project that combines sporting activity with sustainability. The growing interest in protecting the environment has led to think of cycling as a distinctive element of this area.
- On the ancient wool roads in Abruzzo: Abruzzo is a land of sheep tracks, where in ancient times the flocks moved for transhumance. In this region, full of history and traditions, you can retrace the steps of the shepherds on a walking path that allows you to experience local traditions and culture up close.