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The priorities of travelers everywhere have changed, and sustainable travel has emerged as a growing trend as travelers seek to lessen the environmental impact of tourism. To stay relevant, leaders in the travel industry must learn the meaning of sustainable travel and make changes to meet the expectations of conscious travelers. Sustainable travel means maintaining long-term tourism without negatively impacting natural and cultural environments. The goal of sustainable travel is to minimize the negative impacts of tourism and ideally be beneficial to the area where it takes place.

As travelers and tourists, we need to take responsibility for advocating sustainable travel and tourism. As we work towards better, more sustainable travel, here are some tips for ways we can make a change:

Choose a Sustainable Destination

Many destinations are gallantly reducing their carbon emissions. Most notably is Costa Rica. Sustainable tourism is a significant industry in Costa Rica and the ambitious goal of the national tourism industry overall. While some sectors engage in “greenwashing,” using misleading marketing to make trumped-up claims about environmental friendliness, Costa Rica does the opposite. The country has developed a series of organizations and certification programs to ensure that its sustainability is the real deal on every level. 

Respect the Local Culture

The most effective method to show appreciation for the place you visit is to respect their way of life. Before you decide to visit, spend time researching the history and culture – acknowledging all aspects of the location and its residents. When visiting religious buildings, this is essential to dress appropriately – many places require guests to adhere to dress codes. It’s also beneficial to research the dates and be aware of any significant events taking place during your stay.

Check Your Stay’s Credentials 

It’s no surprise that many lodging businesses stick an eco-friendly badge on their page without having the policies to prove it. Still, official environmentally conscious companies will proudly discuss their procedures online. If you’re unsure of their stance, there’s no harm in asking questions such as: Do they promote and collaborate with local businesses? Do they make efforts to give back to the community? And Have they created wildlife habitats on their land? 

These are just a few ways you can be part of the solution as a traveler. As tourism recovers, we have an opportunity to start things fresh and choose a more sustainable path forward.