Lillian Gaitho’s weekend contribution discusses eco friendly travel

Five Guides to Becoming an Eco-friendly Traveler

(By Lillian Gaitho, 14th January 2017)

Tourism is no doubt a world leader in employment, global GDP, and socially; a great aid to cultural integration. With the number of international visitors having crossed the one billion mark, it’s imperative for every traveler to consciously watch what they do, how they interact with the environment, their carbon footprint, as well as the impact of every action they undertake before, during and after their travels. Here are five simple, but impactful tips by Lillian that will go a long way in protecting both human and wildlife existence, as we look forward to supporting sustainable development tourism, as 2017 UNWTO’s theme.

Re-use towels, pack a shower gel where possible

Most people view hotel stays as the big break for luxury and indulgence; which essentially makes up a holiday. However, if you can use the same towel for a day or three in your home, then there is no harm in keeping your habits while at the hotel. This, apart from going a long way in conserving water a also ensures that other resources such as energy, washing chemicals and the general sewerage disposal system are used efficiently.

Refill drinking water bottles

The clogging of drainage systems, shores choking on plasticware, and general litter at every street corner should be enough reason to find permanent solutions to the plastic menace. Meanwhile, it’s upon each individual to responsibly handle any materials that they have to use. It’s very disturbing and annoying to watch motorists throw empty bottles through their windows without a care in the world. Carrying a single bottle that you can refill will definitely go a long way in lowering the amount of plastic lying around.

Switch off lights when not in use

Something quite obvious, but which I find most people need to be reminded. Energy crisis is no longer a stretched imagination of scientists; rather, a reality that each of us must learn to correct and curb in all ways possible. The mere fact that fuel prices continue to literally scale new heights every day, while at times cities have to endure nights on end in blackout is great cause for worry. Do your part as an individual, it’s the only bit in which you have absolute right and power. On the same note, make sure all the water outlets are turned off soon as you are done.

Support like minded causes and establishments

A simple look up on buildings that optimize on alternative energy, water conservation, locally-sourced food and even building materials will definitely give you an idea of people who share in your vision. For the basic reason that they mind what appeals to your lifestyle, then, your stay and interaction will be made more comfortable and your objectives easier to achieve.

Travel in small groups

Remember the bigger the number, the more impact you will have on the environment. While prepping up for group travel, make sure to ask the tour operator how many of you will be squeezing up in what kind of setup. For instance, visiting sensitive eco sites such as swamps, reefs and shorelines, caves and historical architectural sites might prove not just precarious to the visitors, but also detrimental to nature’s own balance.