“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn
As supporters of the TreadRight Foundation, Thompsons Travel is committed to promoting responsible tourism through highlighting the foundation’s four key focus areas: Water, Biodiversity, Leadership and Community.
Whether you are travelling for business or leisure – or both (bleisure) – here are a few ways to ensure the environments and communities you visit remain vibrant for generations to come:
Do your Research
Before you go, research the biodiversity pain points of your destination. Wherever your business travels take you in 2018, be mindful of the country’s relevant biodiversity issues so as to make informed decisions. By not supporting illegal or controversial fauna and flora practices, you are already making a small difference towards a much greater positive change.
Empower Local Artisans
According to TreadRight, heritage activities are vital to local economies. Millions of individuals around the world, especially women, are dependent on heritage-based work, and in many developing destinations the heritage sector helps create jobs, champion economic development, build connections to the global marketplace and empower the disenfranchised.
“Supporting artisans means supporting empowerment,” says Chantal Kliche, Retail Manager of Thompsons Travel, Cape Region. “When you are in the market, look for the makers – the people who are creating the things they are selling – and purchase from them if you like their product. Integrating artisans into global commerce increases the standard of living for hundreds of thousands of people.”
Just as you would consciously decide to avoid taking part in activities that threaten biodiversity, seek out opportunities which actively support the protection of endangered fauna and flora in your travel destination. It could be as simple as only ordering from the SASSI Green List at a seafood restaurant or getting involved in a community biodiversity initiative such as the Clanwilliam Cedar tree planting ceremony.
Another tip is to make a point of supporting community-based tourism. “We have a recommended list of preferred local tour suppliers to give you a perspective that is personal and genuinely local,” says Kliche.
Leave only Footprints
Whether you are travelling to Southeast Asia or the South Coast, the same rule applies to every destination: leave only your footprints behind.
“If you have staff or clients who are travelling to biodiversity or heritage-threatened hotspots, you could create some educational collateral to raise awareness,” says Kliche.
Some best practice guidelines for travellers include:
- Dispose of your waste and recycle where you can
- Use biodegradable soaps wherever possible
- Don’t disturb natural habitats
- Ensure that any wildlife experiences are operated by accredited or ethical suppliers
- When ordering food, choose locally-supplied produce that is in season – or better yet, eat at a locally-owned restaurant and infuse your cash into the local economy
“Sustainable tourism is about taking a holistic view of our choices and actively making travel decisions which leave the world a better place in which we found it,” says Kliche.
Did you know? Through its support of existing conservation initiatives, the non-profit TreadRight Foundation was established to support projects that help the environment, protect and conserve ecosystems and benefit communities. To date, TreadRight has provided more than US$2 million to over 40 sustainable tourism projects around the world.
For more information on the TreadRight Foundation, please visit www.treadright.org
To chat more about how we can work together to encourage sustainable tourism best practices in your business travel planning, meetings, incentives, conferences and events, contact Thompsons Travel today.