The first 4 months of our Sustainable Tourism through Hostelling campaign have already passed, and during this time we’ve introduced inspiring projects from entire National Associations to individual hostels across the HI family. The topics we’ve covered so far include: Consuming Sustainably – Equipment, food & beverage, Our Nature – Managing waste & water, Our Hostels – Achieving carbon neutrality and Mobility – Inclusive travel & stay.
You may have noticed these areas have something in common:
Exactly, they all focus on the Environmental Pillar!
What specifically have we been doing these last four months, other than introducing you to these topics and how you can tackle them yourself? From sharing best practices from the network, to hosting live webinars with industry experts and providing practical tools and guidelines, we have tried our best to equip our hostels with knowledge and the right tools. And of course, the journey keeps on going in 2017 and beyond!
We will now continue the 2017 UN Year campaign with the Social Pillar by looking at Our People – Caring for staff & volunteers, Our Communities – Giving back & building bridges and, of course, Our friends – Engaging guests, you! Thus, stay tuned and make sure you get involved by telling us about your experiences at the HI hostels.
Do you still wonder what can you do to become a responsible traveller?
Check out UN World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 5 tips for a Responsible traveller:
- Honour your hosts and our common heritage – learn about the local customs, traditions, social and cultural aspects of the place you are visiting. Learn a few words too! How many languages can you say “Hello”, “thank you”, “I love you” and “where is the bathroom” in?
A good way to be informed about the local environment might be by having a guided tour in the city. Our partner SANDEMANs offers very informative walking tours in various cities to help you understand the local culture and history. If you are a HI member, when booking with them, just use the code HImember to get a 25% discount!
- Protect our planet – be a guardian of natural resources and respect wildlife and natural habitats. Remember that saying “take nothing but pictures”? Learn it by heart, and do please follow your heart.
- Support the local economy – Simply buy locally-made goods and explore the particular taste of the area you are discovering.
Eating locally is a good way to connect with the local culture. Many of our hostels, like in Scotland or Norway, take pride in what they serve as it supports the local economy and allows all passers-by to acquire memories through their taste buds!
- Be an informed traveller – your choices have the power to help and support the community or downgrade it through wrong volunteering causes or purchases. Knowledge is power, use your access to information wisely and purposefully.
Not sure about what you are buying? Ask! Our hostels staff might just have the answer you are looking for. Whether it is about a sustainable service provider or a certain souvenir you think might be a risky choice, ask them and they will be happy to help you to make the right choices.
- Be a respectful traveller– respect human rights and bring your share to the higher good. Protect children from exploitation, don’t encourage begging and instead support community projects. Shout from the roof about your positive experiences and provide honest constructive feedback when needed.
Looking to support community projects? Did you know you can do it already when booking directly on hihostels.com in some destinations? When you book, you can donate a small amount (sometimes as small as £0.10) towards the HI Sustainability Fund. 100% of the donations are going towards CO2 emission-saving projects, including some in Malawi, China and Peru (managed by myclimate) that help communities improve their lifestyle (less indoor smoke, creation of jobs, etc.) through the provision of sustainable cooking equipment.