CONSCIOUS TRAVEL: SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
Travelling is beautiful: discovering new places, visiting places we have always dreamed about, taking some time off and changing scenery. However, have you ever wondered the impact travelling has, not only on your wallet, but on the environment and nature as well? Precisely because tourism is my work and because I am aware our planet has limited resources and we are using them up, I decided to support responsible and sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism harmoniously takes action with the environment and local communities in a way that benefits them, rather than making them victims of tourism development. Sustainable tourism looks towards the future, contributing to the improvement of the quality of life. This is as important for Florence as it is for New York or Kathmandu. Economy, ethics, and environment are the base of sustainable tourism.
Sustainable tourism conserves local identity
Tourism today is one of the main economic activities in the world, second only to petroleum, employing 1 out of 15 people. The tourism industry also pollutes more than any other. Therefore it is obvious that we are dealing with a dual phenomenon: on one hand tourism can contribute to a country’s socio-economical development, yet it can become the cause of local identity crises and environmental degradation. Just think how rentals to tourists have literally emptied historic city centres of their residents. Only sustainable tourism is capable of conserving culture, environment, and economy.
How to become a responsible traveller
The responsible traveller, who chooses to experience sustainable tourism, does not give up comfort or set off on gruelling walks with a backpack, and is not even one who chooses to experience volunteering abroad. Travelling, one of man’s greatest aspirations, has many aspects: each person travels for different reasons. We travel to learn, explore, rest, go off the grid. Any motivation, any type of trip, with any destination and budget, can be sustainable because being a responsible traveller means being aware first and foremost. By being aware of what is going on around us and of our impact on the environment, it is clear that we have to make choices based on this awareness.
Tips for being a responsible traveller
It may not be the right formula for everyone, but here is a list of some choices to make before and during your travels that can make you a responsible traveller:
- Avoid flying and travel by train, bike, and ride sharing when possible (naturally you’ll have to fly if you’re travelling from the US or Australia to Florence! Once you’re here you can travel by train or bus instead of renting a car.)
- Remember that even on vacation natural resources like water and energy are non-renewable.
- Choose accommodations and restaurants managed by locals.
- Buy local organic products.
- Remember that a foreign land is not designed for you, but for its inhabitants.
- A tourist is a guest and must respect culture. There is still a lot to do and each of us can do our part to make tourism less harmful for the environment.
Fantastic Florence and sustainable tourism
How did Fantastic Florence decide to support this type of tourism? Since the planet gives us many resources every day (water, food, energy, clothing, etc.), we decided to give back to the planet by planting trees in various places throughout the world. This is why we decided to start collaborating with Treedom. Treedom is the only web platform in the world that makes it possible to plant a tree long distance and follow up on it online.
What is Treedom?
Since its establishment in 2010 in Florence, more than 400,000 trees have been planted in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Italy. We are very happy that this start up is Florentine and can be supported in our community. All of the trees are planted by local farmers and contribute to producing environmental, social, and economic benefits. Every Treedom tree has its own page, is geolocated and photographed, and can be looked after and given away to a third party. As they grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and produce oxygen, improving the air we breathe.
Fantastic Florence and Treedom
So far Fantastic Florence has planted 8 trees. Since we all love coffee and chocolate, we decided to plant 3 coffee trees in Nepal and 5 cocoa trees in Cameroon. During our Florence food tour, we learn the secrets of a good espresso coffee and we eat a lot of delicious chocolate (especially on the vegan food tour), so it seemed like a good idea to contribute to repopulating these trees, giving fruit back to the Earth. So, every tour that you do with us will contribute to planting trees and building forests! Happy touring to everyone and remember that we all belong to the same planet; we are guests here and we are obligated to respect it, even when we travel!