What is sustainable travel?
According to WTO, sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economics, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
To put it simply, the aim of sustainable tourism is to minimise harmful impact of tourism on natural and cultural environment and maximize the benefits in those areas and support local communities at the same time.
Sustainable tourism is not a special form of tourism – it’s rather a goal that all forms of tourism should strive for.
As an active travel agency, Barents.pl tries to follow the rules of sustainable travel at each step of the travel-planning process as well as during the trips.
So how do we do it?
We want tourism to stimulate responsible land management and bring in economic benefits to local communities. That is why we want to make sure that the money we invest goes back to the community. For example, in Georgia we often work with a local NGO which invests the money we pay for accommodation to support local women, help them get an education and be actively involved in community life. The families that host us also cook for us and help us solve logistic and administrative issues. We use services of small local transport companies and we always hire local guides who know the region best. These little actions not only help small local businesses and organizations stay profitable, but also give us authentic glimpse into the life of local community.
Wherever we travel, we respect cultural heritage and traditional values of hosting communities – we want to leave a positive impact in people’s memory, fight harmful stereotypes and contribute to the inter-cultural tolerance.
How to be a responsible tourist?
First of all, learn about foreign countries and cultures, read some articles or books (we always send recommended literature in the info pack! ) and be respectful towards local customs and lifestyles. Don’t be afraid of talking to locals, but do your best to have a conversation without prejudices. Doing that you will get an amazing opportunity to exchange experiences of living in diverse cultural circles and maybe inspire each other.
If you are planning to travel by yourself, choose small hostels or guesthouses instead of international hotels. Avoid big, overpriced restaurants and try local cuisine which are recommended by locals. Also, get around on foot or bicycle, not in a tourist coach.
And when you get back home – share your experiences with friends and encourage others to become responsible tourists