Get off the main tourist trail
CHARLIE SAYS: "Go somewhere none of your friends have been and go on an adventure, trust me, you and the family will love it. It also has the added benefit of making sure your holiday has a greater impact on local communities and less of the negatives associated with over-tourism. Give your tour operator the challenge of taking you somewhere that is completely unique."
Use local companies
CHARLIE SAYS: "Did you know that the UN states that for every $100 spent by a tourist, only $5 stays in the local economy? This is something we can help improve, and when mixed with the fact that some of the best travel experiences are often created by small family-owned local companies, it makes sense to make sure you are buying local. Online booking websites will often not know this information but specialist tour operators, such as Far and Wild will do as they to have a more personal connection with the business they work with so will help you to make choices that put more money back into the local economy."
CHARLIE SAYS: "One of the trickier and more complex areas of tourism is animal interactions. There is no doubt that there are travel businesses exploiting animals for profit but on the other end of the scale, if tourism is done right, it can help fund conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species. For example, look at how the gorilla population has increased in Rwanda in the last decade. Stay and book with businesses who are working on the front line to protect these species and their natural habitats. By doing this, we can build sustainable economies that protect rather than capture."
Use air-conditioning wisely
CHARLIE SAYS: "According to Project Drawdown, air conditioning is one of the worst polluters around the world - mainly due to overuse or old technology. The terrible irony that methods of keeping us cool are actually resulting in global warming is not lost on us. When using the air conditioning, ensure to keep doors and windows closed and turn it off when not in the property."
Support social enterprises
CHARLIE SAYS: "Get involved in social enterprises, from restaurants who help train people from different social backgrounds to hotels who empower gender equality in local schools. There are so many amazing people, doing innovative projects and using business as a power for good. When possible, we encourage you to make sure your spending money makes a difference to those who need it the most."
CHARLIE SAYS: "Flights are huge emitters of CO2 and will no doubt be the highest polluting part of your trip. ecollective are advocating governments to stop giving airlines subsidies and tax flights accordingly but one way we can all make a massive difference as well as improve our holiday is to fly direct. For the sake of saving you time, stress, potential delays and as well as reducing your carbon footprint, it is often worth spending a little bit more."
Be the voice of change
"One thing I would love to see tourists do more of is to question the status quo, especially at luxury hotels. So many businesses have not yet changed old habits; think plastic toiletries, Heineken instead of local beer, fresh towels every day. So many of the businesses want to change and be more sustainable but are scared of complaints and want to stick with the way the luxury hospitality sector has always operated. Don’t be afraid to give your comments and suggestions and be the voice of change!"
We hope this leaves you feeling empowered as to the difference you can make on your holiday!