Experts say tourism is “often forgotten about” when we are thinking about sustainability and the importance of living more sustainable lives.
Professor Brian Garrod from Swansea University said: “We see going on holiday as something which is not work and therefore not serious but actually it is.”
The tourism industry makes up around 10% of the GDP of Wales. Prof Garrod said this means it can have major impacts on our planet. He added that it is important to think about the environment even when having a holiday closer to home.
Prof Garrod said: “When booking your holiday, the Green Tourism and Green Key guides enable people to find eco-responsible properties. Green Key is an international eco-certification system. It’s a badge you get when you audit your business and meet increasingly hard targets to stay in the scheme.”
He added that is important to visit different areas across Wales, rather than always going to the most well-known destinations like Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. He said this would help avoid large crowds and keep the areas safer.
Prof Garrod recommended visiting places like Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest where you can go on long walks and watch red kites being fed.
Tips from travel agent Jo Baldwin on how to have an eco-friendly holiday
Stay within the UK
Avoid travelling by plane where possible
Look for hotels that recycle water or have solar panels
Give back to the communities when travelling – assist with planting trees or other carbon offsetting projects
During the pandemic, it has been much more difficult to travel by plane as borders have been closed for much of the year. This has meant that staycations have been more popular than ever and it is thought that this will have a positive impact on our carbon emissions.
In the UK, only 11% of people said they plan to travel abroad in the next six months, according to a YouGov survey.
said they would go on a domestic holiday in the next six months
Fiona McInnes-Craig runs a sustainable tourism business in Llandovery, where visitors can plug in their electric cars, enjoy a hot tub powered by locally sourced wood or travel the country in a camper van.
She said: “Every decision I’ve had to make I’ve tried to make with eco credentials in mind. I think we’ve all really increased our awareness in the pandemic of sustainability and the environment. We’ve seen clear skies of planes, we’ve seen birds in the sky and many people are celebrating that there seems to be a shift of direction that we want to hold on to.”
Fiona said that since the firebreak lockdown ended she has had close to 90% occupancy.
People are really appreciating being able to come here for a short break.
Prof Garrod said there is “so much good work that’s been going on” in the tourism industry in Wales.
“What I would make a plea for is we begin to see tourism as an area where we can make and we do need to make really major strides in terms of improving its sustainability.”
— to www.itv.com