Frequently Asked Questions
If you can’t find an answer to your question below, please do contact us to ask!
+ 1. What is Sustainable Tourism?
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as,
"Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities."
+ 2. Is Sustainable Tourism all Ecotourism?
No. The Global Ecotourism Network defines Ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that:
- conserves the environment,
- socially and economically sustains the well-being of the local people, and
- creates knowledge and understanding through interpretation and education of all involved (eg. staff, travellers and community).
'Sustainable tourism' applies to travel which is not just to natural areas, for example to urban areas too.
+ 3. What's the difference between Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel?
The 2002 Cape Town Declaration defined Responsible Tourism as
“making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.”
There's also Conscious Tourism, Ethical Travel, Slow Tourism, Community-Based Tourism , Voluntourism, Geotourism & Pro-Poor Tourism…
- Read more: Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism, Responsible Travel, Conscious Tourism... What's the Difference?
+ 4. Isn't sustainable tourism a contradiction when you have to fly?
Any industry can be less or more sustainable. Some argue that putting a halt to global travel could massively reduce the carbon ‘footprint’ of tourism, and the consequent impact on greenhouse gas emissions and man-made global warming.
Yet, transport isn’t the only thing which creates carbon emissions, so even domestic tourism can create impacts: Previous research suggested the sector contributes 5-6% of total global greenhouse gas emissions; three quarters (4% total) from transport, of which 40% (2.5% total) from aviation, and 32% (1.5% total) from cars; 21% (1% total) from accommodation, the rest from activities (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO, 2008). It's now reported, taking the full tourism system life cycle info account, that the sector represents 8% of carbon emissions; aviation approximately 3% of total emissions, with a potential magnitude at altitude representing 5%.
Yet whilst there are undoubtedly negative environmental impacts, to take away tourism from some countries, especially the least developed countries where tourism is a top 3 sector and export market, could literally cut off their life-line.
And there are many other sectors and activities that contribute more greatly to carbon emissions.
Sustainability is about a triple bottom line balance. At Earth Changers we support carbon reduction and promote net positive impact tourism, recognising that most people won't stop flying, but encouraging them if they are going to fly to undertake proven positive instead of negative impact tourism, as a net positive force for good.
- Read more: Sustainable Tourism - What Does that Even Mean?
- See: Tourism’s Value in the Global Economy
- Consider reductions & alternatives: Top 10 Tips on How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint in Travel (and should you Carbon-Offset?)
+ 5. How can I reduce my carbon impact and limit my carbon footprint?
+ 6. Can you explain carbon offsetting, and is it a worthwhile thing to do?
Carbon offsetting, or carbon sequestration, is when you calculate the amount of carbon your activity or journey will create and then donate money to remove the equivalent from the atmosphere, for example in planting trees or upgrading infrastructure to be more energy efficient. Sounds great in theory. However, offsetting does not reduce emissions. Therefore, offsetting does not solve the problem, but merely appeases guilt, scratches the surface and unfortunately often does not work. There are times when offsetting does or doesn't make sense.
- More details: Top 10 Tips on How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint in Travel (and should you Carbon-Offset?
+ 7. How does Sustainable Tourism support the UN Sustainable Development Goals of the Global Goals Agenda 2030?
Our 'Purpose' section details how tourism inter-relates to and supports each of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
- This overview links to each article: What are The Sustainable Development Goals and what have they got to do with Tourism?
+ 8. Why was 2017 named the year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations?
#IY2017 The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was so-named to highlight tourism's extraordinary cross-sectoral nature as an opportunity to support sustainable development throughout the world and its enormous potential for global positive impacts.
It aimed to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour to a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to the SDGs.
+ 9. What makes Earth Changers experts in Sustainable Tourism?
Founder Vicky has worked in tourism for over 23 years, including sustainable tourism for over 12; in destinations, marketing and ecommerce, heading up operations abroad and online for major tour operators, online travel agents and media, in mass market tourism, ski, safari, tours, charity challenges and voluntourism, NGOs and sustainable tourism accreditation organisations. She’s been a ski resort manager, a qualified ranger in Africa, charity challenge leader and trustee for SEED Madagascar. Vicky’s published MSc paper (distinction) on responsible volunteer tourism and greenwashing was pioneering.
Having witnessed first-hand many of the issues and impacts for local people and places, Earth Changers understand the purpose potential of tourism for sustainable development and supporting those who are truly committed to delivering that aim.
- Read more: How Vicky came to set up Earth Changers
+ 10. How do I make a booking with Earth Changers? How does Earth Changers work?
Earth Changers discern and curate this unique collection of outstanding positive impact tourism. We help answer your questions and when you're ready to book, facilitate your booking for your convenience to be made direct. This is so you pay the destination direct to maximise benefits for the local places, people and purpose. We're not a travel agent or a tour operator but travel advisors to guide you.
More info: About Earth Changers
+ 11. What are Earth Changers' values?
Earth Changers is a curated collection of the best transformative, sustainable tourism around the world. Earth Changers helps tourists discover ‘life-changing places and world-changing people’ for life-affirming trips with serious positive impacts, engaging with the people behind places to reveal their true passions and purpose, educate on the issues and enable the booking of real sustainable tourism.
We're about adventure and connection with integrity. Our Manifesto describes our values and invites you to join Earth Changers too.
- Read more: The Earth Changers Manifesto
+ 12. How can I reduce the use of plastic when travelling?
+ 13. What can I do to reduce my waste when travelling?
Here are some practical and cost effective steps hotels take to minimise waste, so you can be on the lookout for places that are doing all they can for #ZeroWaste - or to arm you with ideas for their feedback forms where you see that they could improve!
- Read more: Zero Waste in Hotels
+ 14. Is there ‘greenwashing’ within the industry and how do we spot it?
If tourism is truly responsible or sustainable, it won’t be greenwashing. What is greenwashing? Why do organisations do it? What problems does it cause? How do you spot it and what different forms does it take? And what can you do about it?
+ 15. Where can we find your social media accounts to follow you?
- There's links in the top navigation menu of this page
- There's links in the right hand column above the email signup box
- Sign up for our latest email updates whilst there!
- You can also find the links to follow on our contact us page