Bennett Velasquez strives to become a leader in the hospitality industry on matters of sustainability and the environment. Since sustainability in hospitality and tourism is a big passion of his, Bennett discusses how everyone can become a more sustainable traveler.
Choose a Destination Wisely
Bennett Velasquez points out that tourists don’t often think about the consequences of over-tourism. To become a sustainable traveler, it is necessary to not only be aware of what you consume but also where you travel. Some destinations are so overly-visited that it does more harm than good to the local people and resources. For example, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Venice are examples of destinations where over-tourism is a problem. Over-tourism has serious consequences such as increasing the cost of living, disturbing the locals and threatening natural resources. Bennett Velasquez recommends every traveler does their research to be a responsible and sustainable tourist.
If you’re looking to make a sustainable contribution while on vacation, it’s a great idea to volunteer and give back to the community, according to Bennett Velasquez. Depending on your destination, there are many things you can do to give back. For example, you can find an ethical organization that focuses on beach cleanup. If you have any specific skills, you can volunteer with an organization in that field.
Conscious About Animal Welfare
While many people consider themselves animal lovers who would never purposely hurt one, they might be aware of animal welfare while traveling. Before traveling to destinations where there are animal experiences involved, they must do their research. Bennett Velasquez mentions that while there are many ethical animal experiences, some might not be quite so. Those who take animal welfare seriously should not participate in activities that include elephant rides, dancing monkeys, or taking selfies with tigers. They should also steer clear of buying souvenirs made from animal products.
Buy Local and Support Small Businesses
Depending on where they travel, tourists often see the same chain franchises while on vacation. To focus on sustainability while traveling, Bennett Velasquez encourages travelers to support local businesses rather than big companies. It makes a big difference in the lives of the locals when travelers employ local guides, eat at family-owned restaurants that use local ingredients, and only buy from small businesses. It’s also important to have respect for their time. If you cancel a guided tour, for example, you can have them miss a full day of earnings.