We all agree that 2020 has been an atypical year. It has been difficult to be apart from our families. For those who love traveling and enjoy nature -like me- it has been challenging to stay in lockdown.
The COVID19 pandemic has also brought significant challenges for many businesses, especially those in the tourism sector. Peruvian Soul is very conscious of this reality. Nevertheless, we are confident that this worldwide event will not halt tourism. On the contrary, now people appreciate more than ever visiting natural areas and meeting people from different cultures. We know tourism will regain momentum soon, but we honestly hope that COVID19 will make people rethink how they travel and start looking for more sustainable options. We are prepared for when that happens.
If you are interested in making tourism more sustainable after COVID19, here we share 5 tips.
1. Make longer journeys
Did you know that the transport sector is responsible for 25% of carbon emissions worldwide? The aviation sector represents 2% of them. One option would be to stop traveling by plane. If that is possible for you, I recommend it, but it is just not realistic in many cases.
What can you do as a traveler to be more sustainable? Instead of taking 3 or 4 short vacations during the year, take one long holiday. This will not only decrease your carbon footprint but will make your experience and impact more meaningful.
The good news is that there are countries like Peru that have lots to offer. We have beautiful beaches on the coast of the largest ocean in the world; some of them, like Paracas, are considered among the most biodiverse deserts on Earth. Ancient archaeological sites (Machu Picchu is one of the world’s seven wonders) are scattered across the Andes Mountains (the longest mountain range in the world). The Amazon jungle, the largest and most biodiverse in the world and is home to more than 60 different ethnic groups.
What can we say? Peru is a megadiverse, large-scale country, and Peruvians are very proud of the fact.
2. Visit projects and businesses with a purpose
Touristic destinations offer many options. Most of them are super fun and exciting, but only some contribute to the sustainability of local communities or the natural environment. Whenever it’s possible, search for all the options you have and pick the restaurant that is sourcing its ingredients locally, the hotel run by a native community, or the business that supports conservation projects in the areas it works in. These are only a few examples of what projects or companies with a purpose are doing to promote environmental care.
What’s your best ally to make your decision? The internet! Before buying a tour or making a reservation in a hotel or restaurant, visit their website, research them on the internet and make an informed decision.
3. Be respectful when visiting natural places or communities
This might sound like an easy one. I am sure none of you reading this article would throw your trash in the middle of the path or would want to be disrespectful when visiting a native community. Despite our good intentions, we might sometimes miss some details. For example, we might not understand how important it is for some communities that tourists accept the food they offer. I think my best advice would be to be as respectful as possible. Learn about the local customs before visiting a new destination. Always ask your local guide about what is expected of you as a tourist.
4. Don’t bargain
I have always thought we shouldn’t bargain with small business owners, artisans, or communities. I feel that recommending this to every tourist visiting Peru is more crucial than ever.
More than 3 million Peruvians depend directly or indirectly on tourism. After borders were closed due to COVID19, some of them haven’t been earning any money at all. These people are waiting for tourists to arrive in Peru again. Yes, they need to sell at any cost. Yes, many of them will accept less money for their products or services. No, you are not making a good deal by bargaining. No, you shouldn’t do it.
Be a responsible traveler. Pay the real cost of things. Make a positive impact on the lives of all the people working in tourism. This has probably been the most affected sector due to COVID19. Local people need the support of tourists for their recovery.
5. Look for ways of offsetting your carbon emissions
Many industries emit carbon. We can’t deny that the tourism industry also does. You can reduce your carbon emissions by using other means of transportation, like trains or electric cars. You can also make a more extended journey each year, as I mentioned before.
Once you have managed to reduce your emissions, you can also look for ways of offsetting your carbon footprint. Some non-profit organizations offer the service. One of them is Myclimate. Some tourism businesses also provide their clients with the option of offsetting the carbon emissions of their trip.
At Peruvian Soul, we have partnered with Pachamama Raymi, a Peruvian non-profit organization planting trees in the mountains of Peru. For every client we have, we fund the plantation and growth of 15 trees. With this, we offset carbon emissions and create work for poor families and break the vicious circle of environmental deterioration and rural poverty. We believe that, although we are a small business, we can have a significant impact!
To learn more about our commitment to responsible tourism, click here. We will be happy to organize customized fantastic experiences with a positive impact on you and the local community and environment.