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Ismaila Whittier Discusses Responsible Tourism: How to Travel Sustainably and Make a Positive Impact on the Environment and Local Communities

Written by Jimmy Rustling

As an established professional and an accomplished world traveler, Ismaila Whittier understands the importance of responsible and sustainable travel. The world is constantly changing, whether due to climate threats or evolving economies. As visitors to foreign countries, you are responsible for leaving places the same or better than when you found them. With a concerted effort, you can positively impact the world and local communities.

Four Tips for Sustainable Travel

Travel can feel like a hectic experience, often overwhelming, especially if you don’t set aside enough time to plan. While spontaneous trips can seem fun on the surface, they usually mean you miss out on pivotal experiences and forget necessities.

Preparation is the key to a quality trip and experience. However, in the days of climate change and economic strife, planning prep work isn’t the only important thing.

1. Travel Slow

A new trend in travel is the idea of slow travel. Despite the name, it doesn’t refer to extended stays or moving at a snail’s pace on tours. Slow travel is more about being conscious of your carbon footprint as you travel and making it as small as possible. For example, consider traveling by train to a remote location instead of flying to an exotic destination. Trains produce far fewer carbon emissions than planes.

2. Support the Local Economy

According to Ismaila Whittier, one of the best things you can do as a sustainable or responsible traveler is support the local economy and artisans. Avoid common tourist traps, like people selling genuine “traditional” sombreros made in China. Take the time and find the craftsmen and artisans making souvenirs by hand using actual traditional methods and materials.

3. Avoid Single-Use Plastics

While convenient, single-use plastics contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — thousands of miles of trash swirling around the ocean. Literal tons of plastic bags and bottles pollute the mass.

Some locations you travel may not have access to purified water, limiting your options. However, if you can use locally purified water, bring a glass travel bottle to refill and reuse.

4. Give and Spend the Right Way

Many tourists traveling to developing nations give books, pencils, clothing, and sweets, attempting to help local villages and children. While well-intentioned, this method of giving can lead to conflict within the community.

To support a local community, research and find a reputable charity. Organized charities understand the needs of villages and people more than visiting tourists and can ensure your gifts of money, food, or clothing go toward the cause.

Sustainable Tourism Is Responsible Tourism

According to Ismaila Whittier, sustainable tourism is responsible tourism. It is about leaving a place as it was or better. Also, it is about building a better world for future generations.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.