What visitors can do for more sustainable tourism

How to travel more sustainably? With the boom of the economy, tourism also boomed. The number of international tourist arrivals in the last ten years has more than doubled. While the tourism boom has fueled economic growth and personal fulfilment, there have been many negative environmental impacts and damage to local communities. The large volume of tourism has a high impact on traffic jams and crowded streets. 

Mass tourism also affects environmental pollution and the loss of sensitive habitats. Some destinations have started implementing various measures, such as limiting the number of tourists, significantly increasing prices, and limiting the sale of single-use plastics, sun creams, etc.
We encourage more natural spending of holidays in nature, forests, hills, rivers, lakes, hiking, cycling and camping.
Promote sustainable vacations without negative impacts on the environment. Environmental and sustainable accommodations and experiences are more popular.

What is sustainable tourism?

People often think that sustainability reduces the carbon footprint we leave in nature. Sustainability is much more comprehensive than that.
With sustainable tourism, we are focused primarily on reducing negative impacts on the environment and increasing positive benefits for communities, ecosystems and our planet. 

Have you heard the words: ecotourism, regenerative travel, community tourism and nature tourism? Have you wondered how they differ?
Ecotourism focuses explicitly on responsible travel to natural destinations. Regenerative tourism focuses on a positive contribution to the visited destinations and helps to eliminate the damage that has already occurred.

Sustainable tourism promotes a balance between economic growth, human well-being and environmental health.

How to travel more sustainably?

Now that we understand what sustainable tourism means. Let’s consider how you can transfer this to your next trip. We offer you some tips on how to become a more conscientious and sustainable tourist.

1. Don’t visit too many besieged destinations

Many attractive destinations are impoverished after the season, as they have become victims of their popularity. Thousands of tourists visited Slovenia last year. This phenomenon is known as “excess tourism”.
As a traveller, you can help prevent the resurgence of over-tourism. Skip the tourist traps and get off the beaten path.
When planning to visit the destinations everyone posts on social media, consider whether it might be more beneficial to explore lesser-known places with fewer crowds.
Your favourite destination will lose its charm due to the crowds and consequences caused by hordes of tourists.

2. Travel outside of peak season

If you still want to visit popular destinations, plan your visit outside the season. Check when is a proper time to visit the selected destination.
If you are a fan of hills, in Slovenia You can go to the mountains around all year. Mountains are attractive in all seasons. In winter, it is necessary to have the appropriate equipment and good physical fitness. Never venture into the mountains without an experienced guide.

3. Stay longer in one destination

Travel more sustainably and allow yourself more time to explore one destination. Instead of going on several short trips each year, you better go for one long vacation. When you arrive at your destination, you can discover one area for a while. It is more sustainable than jumping from one place to another. By doing so, you will contribute a lot to the reduction of CO2 emissions into the environment.
There are no universal guidelines regarding the mode of transport, as the carbon footprint also depends on the type of energy used. The best sustainable option will vary from one destination to another.

4. Save water and energy

In addition to transport, tourism depends on energy for heating, lighting and electricity. The large water consumption caused by tourists puts a heavy burden on the local water and energy infrastructure. Tourists often use more water and energy than local people. Many destinations are struggling to keep up with water and energy demand. Because of temperatures and population increase, the water and energy supply becomes even more difficult.
On vacation, do everything you can to reduce water and energy use.
Turn off the lights, TV, and other electronics you’re not using.
Turn off the air conditioner when you are not in the room.
Take a shower instead of a bath.
Make the shower as short as possible. Hand wash your clothes while you shower.

5. Support local providers

The best way to support local providers is to consider staying in local homestays and guesthouses instead of international hotel chains.
Enjoy food in local restaurants, and treat yourself to traditional dishes prepared from local ingredients.
Hire a local guide to see the sights. If you book a package tour, choose an agency that prioritizes local accommodation and experience providers.

Water in Slovenia is potable, so do not buy water in disposable bottles. Use a reusable bottle and prefer to pour water from a hose or a natural spring.

6. Avoid single-use plastics

Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. That’s the equivalent of one garbage truck dumping plastic into the Ocean every day, every minute.
One of the most common plastic items is one-use plastic bottles for water. Take a reusable water bottle on your trip. Water is drinkable almost everywhere in Slovenia. You can always refill your water bottle with fresh water. Do not throw empty plastic bags into nature. Use containers for waste separation and act sustainably in this way. Plastic bottles can be recycled and reused. You can also avoid single-use plastic by not taking food out of restaurants in plastic packaging. Buy food in the store without plastic packaging and use bags made of natural materials.

7. Choose sustainable accommodation and experience providers

Our last tip focuses on how you can encourage tour operators to change their habits. You help them integrate into sustainable tourism. The best way is to look for accommodation and experience providers who already take measures for a better environment and contribute to the well-being of local communities.
Make providers aware that sustainability is prime to you. Check with the providers:
What measures do you have to save energy and water?
Have you eliminated single-use plastics?
How do they promote diversity and inclusion?
Do they hire local people for management positions?
Do you favour local suppliers and manufacturers?
Do you promote responsible coexistence with wild animals?

Have you an idea how to travel more sustainably? How will your next trip be more sustainably?


Explore Slovenia, Julian Alps, Hiker in Vršič