The pandemic was a lesson in slow life. In the last two years, people have begun to notice many previously ignored aspects of their life, including health and well-being medium. They realized that one cannot prosper in the absence of another, and that caring for one’s surroundings and keeping them clean and hygienic means prioritizing health.
Earlier this year, digital travel company Booking.com had concluded in its Sustainable Travel Research Report that 91 per cent of Indian travelers want to travel sustainably in the coming months – a 3 per cent increase over the company’s 2021 data. In addition, while 94 percent of travelers confirmed that sustainable travel is important to them, 68 percent cited recent news reports about climate change that affected their choices.
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Why has there been an increase in recent months in sustainability in travel, and how do experts and travel enthusiasts feel about it? More importantly, when it comes to carrying out conscious and green travel, what should be considered? In the case of World Environment Day today, we were looking for answers.
Akanksha Redhu, a content traveler and photographer from Delhi who travels a lot, said that sustainability is the need of the hour.
“In the pandemic, people who would once travel only to international destinations were forced to look at domestic elections. They learned more about their own country and the state it is in. When you travel to certain places, you see mountains of rubbish. But , when you go to cleaner and more beautiful destinations, you leave that world and think it’s not your problem, ”she told this outlet, adding that this mindset has changed in the last two years.
Ranjith Singh – who is “obsessed with motorcycles and adventures” – said that sustainable travel is a balance between responsible travel and environmental conservation. Kanyakumari’s traveler and motorcycle enthusiast regrets that with people moving and traveling now more than ever, there is a “big risk to the environment”.
“Most people travel for two reasons: to become famous on social media or because their neighbor does it. I don’t think it’s good for the environment because they have no idea what they’re doing to the planet,” he said. , that he supports campaigns like #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter by Royal Enfield, as they protect the environment by encouraging the use of steel bottles, cotton bags, etc.
According to Ritu Mehrotra, commercial director, APAC at Booking.com, the pandemic has made people more aware of their impact on the environment and the people around them – including local communities – which has made travelers aware of the kind of travel they make. “Indian travelers are slowly paying attention to how long they are traveling, from exactly how they get to a destination to how they are exploring the place,” she said. indianexpress.com.
Mehrotra added that it is also the responsibility of housing providers to make sustainable choices easier and more affordable for guests. “There are five key areas they can focus on: reducing waste, energy and greenhouse gases, protecting nature, using less water and supporting local communities.
“Simple initiatives to practice sustainability include removing all disposable plastics, installing landfills, recycling bins, and offering tours and activities organized by local guides. Booking.com has introduced a ‘Travel Sustainability Badge’ that housing partners can achieve by adopting these practices.” noticed.
Pratik Mazumder, the CMO of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts stated that travelers today choose hotels that are taking steps towards sustainability, such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting, to name a few. “Flower shops and hotels have actually started using organic materials, limiting the use of plastic, and choosing environmentally-friendly solutions to offer a sustainable experience,” he told this outlet.
He added that at their property, all “70W AC fans were replaced by 28W DC fans, occupancy sensors were installed for light management, and diesel hot water generators were replaced by heat pumps.”
“There is an installation of flow limiters, sewage recycling and reuse, and rainwater harvesting to recycle and reuse 250 million liters of sewage annually. In the fields of solar installations, energy conservation, water conservation, waste recycling and biodiversity, the company has implemented a variety of sustainable practices at its 84 resorts across India and abroad, ”Mazumder said.
Shruthi Shibulal, CEO and director of Tamara Leisure Experiences Pvt Ltd, believes that sustainable business is a thoughtful business, and as Gen-Z has become a prominent segment of the travel market, eco-sensitivity and responsible tourism are becoming the cornerstone of travel preferences.
“Most sustainable practices are neither complex nor cost-effective. They simply require careful assessment, some experimentation, and careful planning.” According to her, there are three focuses that hotels can take advantage of: conservation, preservation and restoration.
“Offering on-demand utilities and measuring food can immediately serve to reduce consumption and waste. Installing outdoor light sensitive to local wildlife, landscaping with indigenous plant life to protect the existing ecosystem and building with locally sourced materials can serve to maintain environmental balance and contribute to local economies.
“Restorative measures include local employment. More than 50 percent of Tamara’s staff is made up of local residents who bring their knowledge of landscape and culture to our offerings. We regularly participate in food donations, tree planting and cleaning in partnership with local communities.” she said. indianexpress.com.
Beyond energy saving and recycling
Rahul Puri, the managing director of The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi and The Westin Sohna Resort and Spa, believes that while the pandemic-damaged world is trying to recover, sustainable practices are becoming tools to rebuild the local economy.
At Westin Sohna Resort and Spa, we offer ‘Go Local: Farm to Table’ – an experience created exclusively indoors so that guests can understand the concept of sustainable dining. The performance is a traditional farming experience that allows them to learn more about village culture, ”he shared with this outlet.
Explaining further, he said guests are being led to an “organic farming zone” in which they “interact with horticulturists and agricultural experts, experience working in the field, planting and picking their own fruits / vegetables and having them freshly cooked in a recipe. according to their choice ”.
“Guests can turn the farm to see how fruits and vegetables are grown, learn about beekeeping, worm composting, rainwater harvesting, gray water filtration, crop rotation and more. They can get their hands dirty by connecting to the soil. The initiative is not just about promoting a healthy diet and protecting the environment, but also giving our guests a first-hand experience of rural life, ”Puri explained, adding that sustainability is much more than energy saving or recycling. hospitality industry. “
Tips for traveling sustainably
While traveling will only gain momentum in the coming months, what can a traveler do to ensure that they leave little to no burden on the environment?
Redhu suggested that if one does a a single road trip, they can ride together and travel together as a group. “Public transportation is a more sustainable option. Some hotels still use plastic bottles, so it’s best to bring your own metal water bottle. If you are traveling in India, eat local food and support local communities. They want to keep the area clean and in its natural state, so support them as much as you can. “
Singh agreed, and ended by saying that it is important to “leave every place better” than you found it. “Respect the local people and always keep some cash so you can support local businesses,” he said.