I salute the brave hearts who from time immemorial travelled the world in search of new worlds, in search of new trade, in search of new occupation, in search of peace, in search of change, in search of food, in search of shelter, in search of adventure, in search of safety, all this long before travel for leisure came into being.
They undertook long journeys, tested unchartered waters and hostile environments, not knowing what to expect. We only know of the successful traveller who was clever enough to document his trip. I wonder what became of the ones that did not leave a travelogue behind, or the one that lost the way, lost the will to carry on, lost purpose. Do you think he returned home or stayed on, calling the new place his home and perhaps grew roots?
Once it was realised that travel opens minds, more and more people ventured out of their homes, some loved the adventure involved and some others used the service of a travel agent to iron out all the trip details. Travel evolved some more, journeys became easier to undertake what with the modernisation of transport services. Today there is a significant number of people that travel for leisure and tourism. These days parents give their children a head start by travelling as a family. There are kids that have already visited a dozen countries or more before they turn 18!
Tourism has become an important aspect of life. So much so that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has adopted September 27 as World Tourism Day. India has been a member of the UNWTO since 1975. The organisation looks into the various aspects of tourism, and that includes responsible and sustainable tourism, the cultural and socio-economic aspects of tourism and making tourism accessible to all and reduce its negative impacts.
Those involved in the business of tourism are all more environmentally conscious and working toward greener travel.
Your travel agent will not cut you a ticket like in the old times, an e-ticket is very acceptable. Your mode of transport, be it an airline or car is innovating in such a way so as to reduce carbon footprint. Your accommodation urges you to think before asking for sheets to be changed and towels to be replaced. Cities that experience excessive tourism are courteously suggesting that you visit some place else that is equally beautiful.
So what can you as an individual do to reduce the burden of travel?
1) Walking is the best way to get to know a city. So walk as much as you can. Choose public transport over hailing a cab.
2) Carry your own water bottle and avoid use and throw water bottles.
3) Let your phone be your travel guide and your document storage device, thereby reducing paper printouts.
4) Carry your own shopping bags.
5) Carry your own cutlery and avoid single use plastic cutlery.
What do you do to reduce the environmental impact of your trip? Do share your thoughts.