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What is Sustainable Tourism?

Written by: Erin Green

As 2017 began, the United Nations announced that they were declaring it the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The term ‘sustainable tourism’ has become a buzzword recently yet there is still often confusion about what it means or how you can participate in it as a traveler.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

The general definition of sustainable tourism is to lessen the negative effects tourism can have on a destination and increase the positive impact tourism has on the local people and environment. This is most often through conservation efforts to protect natural habitats, directly boosting the economy for local residents through jobs or sourcing supplies locally, creating philanthropic programs for travelers or crafting experiences that are respectful to area beliefs and culture.

Sustainable Tourism Around the World

Perhaps the most common myth about sustainable tourism is that it only applies to trips to places like Costa Rica and staying in rustic eco-lodges. On the contrary, sustainable tourism can be found everywhere. The Savoy Hotel in London is well known for being one of the most luxurious lodging options in the city – what people don’t know is the extensive behind the scenes sustainability goals they have achieved. 100% of the hotel’s waste is diverted from landfills through recycling, donating and partnering with biofertilizer companies to repurpose organic waste. Yet most people don’t think of London as a stereotypic destination for sustainable tourism.

Virtuoso, the consortium of travel agencies and suppliers in which Pique is proud to be a member, is going to great lengths to recognize the importance of sustainable tourism and the role it must play in the industry. They are offering monthly webinars for their advisors featuring partners that are paving the way in sustainable travel such as Big Five Tours and the Coppola Family Hideaways so that we can continue to support these efforts. Virtuoso’s CEO has committed to planning all of his family’s vacations this year to destinations that have placed importance on environmental and cultural preservation such as the Brando in French Polynesia and a tour around New Zealand.

If you’re interested in ways to become a more sustainable traveler, check out the Travel Care Code which breaks down 10 easy things you can consider when you travel – whether it’s up north for the weekend or an extended exotic getaway.

Your Pique Travel Designer would also love to help you find ways you can incorporate sustainability into your travel plans. We work with partners around the world to offer ways you can give back – whether it’s an afternoon spent volunteering with a vetted organization or a recommendation for a charity to contribute to that can impact the direct areas you are visiting. We’re proud to partner with many travel companies that have sustainable tourism woven into their mission and we would love to help you find the right one for your next trip.

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