Due to the pandemic, tourism completely stopped in 2020 and travel restrictions was the result. Where popular cities were once filled with crowds of visitors, where tourists lined up for selfies at beautiful viewpoints, and where sunbathers crowded the beaches, there was suddenly a yawning emptiness. It was a forced pause that was especially challenging for those who relied on tourism for their living. However, did the standstill in the tourism industry also bring advantages? Even before the pandemic, it was clear that fast mass tourism caused significant problems: air pollution, waste, price increases, and the loss of local culture.
Traveling should be enjoyable, broaden our horizons, ideally support the local population, and above all, do no harm. We want to get ourselves in foreign cultures and experience nature in its most beautiful form. The pandemic is forcing us to reconsider: Do we want to continue accepting the harmful aspects of travel personally and as a society? Or do we want to promote a gentler, more sustainable form of tourism?
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the German travel portal "Urlaubspiraten" conducted a survey on sustainable travel within its community. Approximately 2,000 participants took part in the survey, with 56 percent of them being between 18 and 34 years old. When asked whether they make an effort to be environmentally conscious while traveling (such as consuming local products, avoiding water wastage, recycling waste, etc.), 33 percent answered, "Yes, it is very important to me," 58 percent responded with, "I try, but it doesn't always work out," and only 9 percent said, "No, I do not prioritize it while traveling." Furthermore, 87 percent of the respondents stated a preference for engaging in activities or purchasing products that support local providers while traveling, and 68 percent expressed their intention to consider ecological aspects in their future vacation planning.
As travel recovers from pandemic lows, travelers are once again experiencing the consequences of overtourism. However, experts are saying they believe that the pandemic presents a real opportunity for sustainable travel. It is noticed that people now appreciate traveling more. Due to the COVID, everyone had to take responsibility, and it is hoped for that travelers will continue to be more considerate, conscious, and responsible even after the pandemic. Additionally, destinations within Europe that can be reached by train without air travel are becoming more popular.
Not only should travel companies be aware of their responsibility towards the environment, but each and every one of us can and must take responsibility in this regard. By making conscious choices and adopting sustainable practices, travelers can contribute to reducing the impact of tourism on the environment. Simple actions like using reusable water bottles, supporting local businesses, and opting for eco-friendly transportation can make a significant difference. Additionally, staying informed about the environmental policies and practices of travel companies and destinations can help us make more environmentally conscious decisions when planning our trips. By working together, both the travel industry and individual travelers can play a crucial role in promoting responsible and sustainable travel for a more environmentally friendly future.
On social media, there is now a greater focus on highlighting the issues and opportunities for improvement, as seen in the following YouTube video. These steps can help us become more conscious of our impact on the environment. By sharing valuable information and supporting initiatives aimed at protecting our planet, we can collectively make a significant difference in creating a more sustainable future for travel and the environment.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSR15S3teSQ