25
Dec-2014

No footprint… “hands on” responsible travel

In our community, we’d like to encourage travellers to approach places they visit with greater understanding and respect towards the local people, culture, wildlife and the environment. You, the traveller, are part of the impacts of tourism in a country. So you need to be aware of the issues faced in the place you are visiting, and to think about your own “footprint”.

Please find below some suggestions:

green_bullet Conduct a little bit of research on the area you wish to visit beforehand. Read about the culture and history of the people, learn to say “thank you”, find out about any environemtal, social or political issues you should be aware of (for example, is there a problem with water, any particular local customs you should be aware of?).

green_bullet Ask your holiday provider, accommodation owner, sailing agency or diving centre about their environmental and social policies (for example, any recycling or conservation programs; do they employ locals; e.t.c.). Support those who have a policy and implement it. Please keep in mind that the more people ask, the more they will influence holiday providers as they wish to meet people’s wishes.

green_bullet Be economical with your water and electricity consumption as it’s a major problem in Greece. Don’t have long showers! Don’t let the tab running when, for example, you’re brushing your teeth. If your hotel has a swimming pool, ask whether they have a policy in order not to add to the water shortage problem (do they use salt water; do they desalinate sea water;)

green_bullet Consider travelling to Greece out of high season to minimise pressure on resources on the area you will be visiting.

green_bullet Respect local customs and culture. For example, don’t wear a mini skirt to visit an Orthodox temple, they won’t find it sexy! Or don’t ridicule a local’s behaviour and customs even if they look funny to you. Behave to the locals as you would like a foreign visitor to behave in your country.

green_bullet Observe the behaviour of the locals and try to fit in.

green_bullet Don’t expect the place and people to adapt to your habits. In order to experience a place you need to adapt to its rhythms.

green_bullet Accept that people have a different and not “wrong” or “inferior” way of life.

green_bullet Communicate with locals and find out what their views are on the the social, environmental, and economic reality in their country and on tourism. Share your reality and exchange ideas.

green_bullet Show sensitivity when taking photos of people and places. Just ask first their permission.

green_bullet Prefer to stay in smaller, family run rooms or hotels owned by locals and not huge global chains of hotels and resorts. They are identical all around the world anyway and you won’t experience the local character of the area.

green_bullet Prefer to eat at local taverns and avoid food chains. Check where and what the local people eat. It’s common in Greece not to use a menu but either go inside the kitchen to check the daily dishes or ask the owner for recommendations.

green_bullet Try locally produced goods and risk tasting new flavours. You might be surprised!

green_bullet Support the local community by purchasing locally produced goods.

green_bullet Don’t buy souvenirs made out of marine or endangered species.

green_bullet In most places now in Greece you can recycle plastics, cans, glass and paper. Remember to minimise the volume of your litter by compressing it before dumping it.

green_bullet If you visit a beach, or walk through a nature reserve park, or go camping or indulge in a similar activity, remember to leave the place as you found it.

green_bullet Use biodegradable products for your personal hygiene especially if you go sailing or camping.

green_bullet Minimise CO2 emissions by avoiding flights and choosing alternative means of travelling whenever possible (for example, walk, rent a bicycle, take the local buses or train).

green_bullet Travel light! Not only it allows you to move around easier but at the same time it minimises the CO2 emissions (less weight, less energy spent during transport).

Socially responsible, informed and environmentally sensitive travellers that adopt behaviours such as the above have the chance to minimise the negative impact of tourism, contribute to the sustainability of the area they visit and influnce local businessmen and holiday providers towards a more sustainable model of touristic development. You can be part of that!

It’s not enough booking an ecotour!

Be aware! You may feel that your responsibility ends by choosing an ecotouristic holiday. If though you become offensive to local people, use masses of water for long showers, litter the beach or area you visit, buy souvenirs made from endangered species or eat at big restaurant chains and spend no money on the local community… then immediately your holiday is no longer responsible.

Avoid the herd and enjoy the benefits

Before closing I’d like to tell you here a few words about the benefits of travelling out-of-season. From our experience travelling out-of-season is preferable and more enjoyable for the following reasons:

green_bullet prices and costs are much more reasonable,

green_bullet locals have returned to their normal pace of life so you can experience the original face of the place you visit,

green_bullet beaches, bays, marinas, nature reserve parks and other natural areas are not overcrowded so you can enjoy them undisturbed,

green_bullet you’ll face less hassle trying to find a place in the ferry or a place to stay,

green_bullet you have better chances to observe and encounter many species like marine mammals, fishes and birds,

green_bullet you have the opportunity to experience holidays, such as Easter, and other festivals where you can discover the essence of the Greek spirit!

Nature is able to deal with the impact of tourism much more efficiently when it’s more evenly distributed throughout the year.

If you are planning to travel to Greece (or anywhere else in the world!), and if your obligations allow you, choose to travel out-of-season!

green_bullet Read more about us and our philosophy!

green_bullet Check our original responsible walking holidays in Greece!

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