Green travel

There is an increasing awareness among travelers about their affect on the environment when they go on vacation. This is an awareness that is now also highly encouraged in the tourism supplier community.

A joint effort between the National Departments of Tourism, Environmental Affairs, Water Affairs, and Eskom (large local power company) in South Africa resulted in a road show called Greening and Resource Efficiency which allowed speakers in all the major centers of the country to speak to product owners within the industry. The main centers visited included the provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumulanga and the Western Cape.

The message was simple, conserve energy. Eskom even went as far as offering rebates to product owners, such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, tour operators etc who consistently followed energy saving measures. The effect is small but the result would be huge.

Here are some ways that tourism product owners can conserve:

  • Switch off air conditioning and lights in unoccupied rooms
  • Fix dripping faucets
  • Water gardens in the cooler part of the day to avoid excessive evaporation
  • Recycle food and use it as compost
  • Recycle plastic and tin
  • Keep staff educated about green practices etc.

These are all excellent ideas but putting them into practice has been made difficult since there has been no real motivation. Sometimes making the change costs more. There is no clear certification in place to reward or recognize establishments or operators who are making the effort. There is also no clear definition or outline (industry standard) to measure those who are getting it right and those who are not.

So for now it is an uphill battle to encourage the industry as a whole to step up to the plate. This battle may get a bit of a boost if the concept of green travel was more consumer driven. Educating the general public and recognizing folks who are really working hard at it.

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Author: Principle writer – Celeste Wilson

We welcome reblogging with attribution and link.


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