Travel this summer should include consideration for responsible tourism. Modern travelers are seeking to know the impact of their travel plans on the world around them -and how climate change can affect their travel plans. The new travelers loves hotels that donate their leftover soaps to clean world initiatives. They try to support the local economy when traveling to soak up distance places and cultures. When they visit the wilderness, they try to leave as little a human footprint on the wildlife as possible. And sometimes, Nature decides what tourism experiences will and will not be enjoyable.
Climate change is having a real affect on what defines great travel plans. After all, the weather has always been an essential part of tourism patterns. People plan to go somewhere warm when it’s cold, and head to the temperate retreats in the dead of winter. Some people head to the snowy mountains for winter sports while others seek the best surf on any coast. As the sea levels rise and the patterns of hot and cold begin to change, so too will the way we travel.
Disappearing Islands and Beaches
Rising sea levels mean that communities set at low elevations are losing their coastlines. The higher the sea rises, the more beach will be consistently underwater both at high and low tide. Islands are the most effected, losing territory on any border that becomes a beach. Smaller island nations are at risk of disappearing altogether while beach resorts are forced to move back their recreational infrastructure.
Disappearing beaches will increase the demand for glittering beachside vacation spots that haven’t washed away. Resorts will be pushed to rebuild further up the shore, but communities are losing miles of both public and privately owned coastline land. If travelers visit regions experiencing coastline loss, they may look for ways to support those families and businesses most affected by the change. Concientious travelers may prioritize stays that decrease demand for curated beach and embrace use of beach land by the local cultures instead.
Destructive Global Droughts
While sea levels are rising, lakes are drying up and raging drought-related fires are occurring in locations all over the world. California and countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea are facing serious fires and even forced resort evacuations. Combined low water levels with fire risk, how can we tour these regions responsibly or ensure our tourism dollars go to helping these drought and fire-ravaged regions?
Tourism in regions ravaged by drought should be done responsibly. Responsible travelers will do their best to respect the water restrictions in the region by minimizing their showers, washing, and expectations of abundant freshwater. Travelers may take a dip in the sea for their water sports and make sure some of their tourism funds go toward conservation and fire-fighting efforts.
Preserving Natural Eco-Systems
The greatest natural tourism spots are being overrun. The unique ecosystems that first took our breath away are being diminished by too much human traffic – even just foot traffic – through their natural home. Climate change is putting these delicate ecosystems at further risk as cold regions grow warmer, polar winters become more common, and seasonal storms become more intense.
Instead of going to the most-visited places, give those ecosystems a rest. Pick a path less traveled, a wilderness less published in the trail and sport magazines and natural beauty with fewer resorts encroaching on the natural regions. When traveling for the eco-system, responsible tourists now do research on which biomes are the least affected by tourism and climate change to minimize the impact of your personal travel plans.
New and More Severe Storm Seasons
One of the unexpected results of climate change has been an intensity of seasonal storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and polar vortexes are all existing risks, but as high and low temperatures reach extremes. So too do the atmospheric disturbances caused by warm and cold meeting on a massive scale. This has resulted in more massive storms and affected communities dealing with an ongoing cycle of disaster and rebuilding.
Be aware of the new storm seasons and recent disasters. A community still picking up their homes is not ready to welcome guests, and aid donations can be sent through travel programs even when vacationers don’t personally fly to the storm-ravaged communities. Responsible travelers may look for opportunities to participate in travel programs that donate to communities recently hit by disasters while taking their vacation to a region that can support extra people safely.
Focus on Clean Fuel Transport When Traveling
While the pandemic may have taken center stage, the causes if climate change are still at play. Travel pollution is a major player by increasing gasoline burned in every city around the globe. However, it is also no longer necessary that personal travel contribute to gasoline burn. Travelers can catch local buses powered by LNG (liquid natural gas). If travelers rent a car, they can pick up an electric or hybrid model. Travelers can participate in bike-sharing and scooter-sharing programs in downtown areas or just book a hotel within walking distance of everything they want to see.
Traveling by plane, by bus, or by hired car – travelers can look for ways to avoid using gasoline. LNG (natural gas) busses are fantastic local transportation.
Directing Dollars to Help Communities climate change affected
Finally, the one thing that climate change should encourage us all to do when traveling is direct our dollars and local impact. Tourists can’t help but make a difference to the environment where they land. The question is whether that difference is negative or positive. With thoughtful travel planning, travelers can both reduce their own carbon footprint and ensure their travel budget goes back into the local communities that they want to visit instead of into corporate giants who don’t reinvest in the land or the people.
Responsible travel starts with awareness. Consientious travelers who want to make a positive difference are now taking a look at the recent climate change affect on travel and how they can plan the most globally beneficial trip. They seek to make sure their travel plans support the communities they visit without burdening any location recently ravaged by a climate disaster. With the right plan, vacationers can enjoy a heart-warming, naturally breathtaking vacation and know that their funds are going back into the cultures they’ll come to love.