Ever heard the saying – out of the frying pan and into the fire? Well, it represents the exact situation the world is facing right now!
Just when we thought we were through the pandemic and the barrage of natural disasters that shook the world last year (the Australian bushfire, the US hurricane, and the Indonesian floods, to name a few), the world was hit by a pandemic. But what’s even more pitiful is that with everything wrong that’s going on with the world, the economic sectors have still not recognized the stark reality – that at the core of all the damage is the human race itself!
The tourism industry’s blatant negligence of the world’s situation emphasizes the above outpour. It’s not unknown that the sector has been desperate to return to the ‘old normal’ where all that people cared about was splashing money on expensive trips with no regard to the exploitation of natural settings and resources. But it’s heartbreaking to even imagine what would remain of the world if we didn’t learn our lessons.
Are you prepared to say goodbye to the old normal forever?
Since the beginning of 2020, the United Nations constantly pushed the global tourism industry to deal with its sustainability issues. However, on various occasions, high-profile associations like the International Air Transport Association, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the Australian Federal Government, etc., have only talked about bouncing back to the old normal, giving zero importance to sustainability talks.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure that such an attitude is dangerous for both humans and the environment. At this rate, we could well be headed towards a ‘permanent’ quarantine-like setting where the natural environment becomes toxic forever!
An unfulfilled promise
Before the pandemic, the global tourism and travel industry had addressed several sustainability challenges. Multiple promises were made to the world at large, which remain unfulfilled till date.
For instance, the International Aviation department hoped to improve global fuel efficiency by 2% every year till 2050, however, they later admitted that delivering the required level of reduction in emissions wasn’t possible. FYI, the tourism industry isn’t restricted to harming the environment only. It’s a prime contributor to marine plastic pollution and the loss of wildlife.
The only way forward…
Most people concerned about the environment would advocate for a tourism and travel industry that’s sustainable. Here are a few practices that can help achieve this goal.
- Travelers should visit more regional and local destinations which are close to their home. Since the start of the pandemic, this practice has already begun.
- Upon entering a country, travelers could pay a charge towards sustainable tourism and conservation projects. It’s a popular initiative by New Zealand and Botswana.
- Contribute and support businesses that give back to the environment, like Global Himalayan Expeditions.
Wrapping it up
Unless the tourism industry’s focus shifts from profit to achieving sustainability, the future looks bleak. But let’s face it, achieving such a major reform would need a close look at the economies and businesses dependent on tourism. Regardless of how it’s done though, it’s high time we ensured that restoring the ecosystem and maintaining a healthy environment is a core of the tourism industry.