During the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel & tourism industry was inarguably the most severely affected. As the world is steadily moving towards a recovery phase, the travel & tourism industry still faces some challenges. However, it is the ideal time for stakeholders to reform travel policies in aligns to ‘Sustainable Tourism’.
The positive impact of the lockdown can be seen with considerable decrease in carbon emissions and the world witnessed the healing of nature as intensity of human activities reduced for a few months. Thereby, the need of the hour is for the global community to ensure that the tourism industry not only recovers from the COVID-19-caused crisis, but also incorporates lessons learned and becomes more sustainable. While the policy makers and travel companies have placed many policies, regulations and guidelines towards sustainable, ecological and resilient travel; the role of travelers is equally important to achieving this milestone.

Here are some simple actions travelers can consider for a responsible and sustainable travel:

1. Research your Destination
There are countries/cities that prioritize sustainability and invest in preserving their natural heritage. There are many destinations with environmental protection protocols while other travel destinations are taking keen steps toward conservation. With research work in handy, you will be conscious about the environmental friendly activities and tours you can plan in advance.

2. Eco-Friendly Stay
Discover eco-accommodations which practice sustainability standards. There are few basic parameters to know how environmentally friendly and sustainable the lodging is, such as energy saving lighting, local/community hiring, culture friendly, use of eco-friendly products, steps taken to conserve nature around etc.

3. Support Local Communities
There are communities dependent upon tourism and are empowered to preserve the natural resources and cultural heritage for their livelihood. Travelers can be mindful while visiting local places or buying things made by the local population. But be careful, that your souvenir purchase doesn’t jeopardize the local flora and fauna.

4. Indulge in Sustainable Activities
Traveling is about seeing the unseen, the best way to explore is by opting for recreational activities that don’t pollute or use energy. Try out activities like kayaking, biking, or hiking, by which you will create zero carbon emissions while discovering unique sights and experiences away from the beaten path.

5. Cleanliness
As a traveler, it is our responsibility to keep the tourist spots clean. Simple acts like not littering, avoid using plastic, no food wastage, disposing garbage in dedicated bins etc can help in keeping the area clean and also leaving a positive environmental impact behind.

6. COVID Appropriate Behavior
Following COVID protocols is not only for your safety but for others well-being too. Maintaining social distance, discouraging large gatherings for tours, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, not touching things unnecessarily are a few steps you can take for a sustainable and responsible travel. Spread of viruses can impact the people as well as the environment.

Make sure your next trip is eco-friendly and sustainable so the places can be enjoyed with equal fervor by future generations too.