Sustainable Travel

A Necessary Pathway to Responsible Exploration

In an increasingly interconnected world, travel has become an integral part of our lives. Yet, as we explore new destinations, it’s crucial to consider the impact our journeys have on the environment, local communities, and wildlife. Sustainable travel aims to minimise negative impacts and promote positive contributions to the places we visit.

Sustainable travel aims to minimise negative impacts

What is Sustainable Travel

Sustainable travel, also known as responsible or eco-friendly travel, is a holistic approach to tourism that seeks to preserve the natural environment, support local economies, and respect cultural heritage. It involves making conscious choices that benefit both travellers and the destinations they visit.

Sustainable Travel and Tourism Infrastructure boardwalks through the Daintree National Park.
Sustainable tourism infrastructure boardwalks through the Daintree National Park.

Origins of Sustainable Travel

The concept of sustainable travel emerged in the late 20th century as a response to the growing awareness of environmental degradation and cultural erosion caused by mass tourism. The term gained prominence after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which highlighted the need for sustainable development in various sectors, including tourism. Since then, sustainable travel has evolved into a comprehensive movement, encompassing various practices and principles.

The concept emerged in the late 20th century as a response to the growing awareness of environmental degradation and cultural erosion caused by mass tourism.

Key Principles

Environmental Responsibility

Sustainable travel emphasises the importance of preserving natural habitats, reducing carbon footprints, and minimising waste. This includes using eco-friendly transportation, staying in green-certified accommodations, and supporting conservation efforts.

Social Responsibility

Respecting and supporting local communities is a cornerstone of sustainable travel. This involves fair wages for workers, promoting local businesses, and engaging in cultural exchanges that honour and preserve local traditions.

Ethical Wildlife Interaction

A critical aspect of sustainable travel is ensuring that our interactions with wildlife are respectful and non-invasive. This means avoiding places and experiences that cage or exploit animals. Instead, sustainable travellers support organisations that rehabilitate wildlife for release and engage in responsible wildlife watching in natural habitats.

Economic Contribution

Sustainable travel encourages spending money in ways that benefit local economies. This includes buying local products, dining at locally-owned restaurants, and choosing tour operators who prioritise sustainability.

Sustainable Travel and Tourism Infrastructure boardwalks through the Daintree National Park.
Eliminate single use plastics and reduce all plastics on your travels, and at home.

Criticisms of Sustainable Travel

While the goal of sustainable travel is to minimise tourism’s negative impacts, it is not without its critics. Some argue that the term “sustainable tourism” can be misleading, and at times, contradictory. The idea of sustainability in tourism must continuously evolve to meet new challenges and adapt to wider societal changes, a task that many believe the current tourism industry struggles to fulfil.

the travel industry sometimes favours the desires of tourists over the needs of residents.

Achieving perfect sustainability is likely unattainable except under the most ideal conditions, as the needs of equity, economy, and ecology often clash and require compromises. Sometimes, what is labeled as sustainable is merely a facade to pursue higher profits without implementing real, meaningful changes. Additionally, there is a risk that local populations may become alienated from the benefits of tourism, as the industry sometimes favours the desires of tourists over the needs of residents.

sustainable travel is not the ultimate solution.

In the context of Tree Hugger Travel, sustainable travel is not the ultimate solution; rather, it is about lessening the detrimental effects on the environment and the places we visit. It represents a minimum standard, an important step forward, but it is not the final goal.

Why Sustainable Travel Matters

Adopting sustainable travel practices is crucial for the longevity and health of our planet and its diverse inhabitants. By making mindful choices, travellers can significantly reduce their environmental footprint and contribute positively to the destinations they visit. Sustainable travel not only helps preserve natural landscapes and wildlife but also fosters cultural understanding and mutual respect between travellers and host communities.

How to Travel Sustainably

Choose Planet-friendly Stays

Opt for hotels and lodges that implement green practices, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction.

Support Local Economies

Eat at locally-owned restaurants, buy souvenirs from local artisans, and use local businesses and guides for your tours.

Minimise Waste

Carry reusable, plastic free water bottles, bags, and utensils to avoid single-use plastics. Properly dispose of any waste you generate, recycling and composting where possible.

Respect Wildlife

Observe animals from a distance and avoid any activities that involve captive wildlife or disrupt their natural behaviours.

Reduce Carbon Footprint

Use public transportation, bike, or walk whenever possible. Consider offsetting your carbon emissions from flights.

Tree Hugger Travel’s Approach

At Tree Hugger Travel, sustainable travel is the foundation of our philosophy. We are committed to creating travel experiences that align with the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility. Our goal is to not only minimise the negative impacts of tourism but to actively contribute to the regeneration of the places we love.

Eco-Friendly Practices

From promoting reef-safe sunscreen to supporting eco-certified tour operators, we ensure every aspect of our travel experiences, packages and itineraries are designed with sustainability in mind.

Community Engagement

We collaborate with and support local communities to offer authentic cultural experiences that benefit both travellers and the communities.

Wildlife Conservation

We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards working with or recommending any animal sanctuaries or zoos that keep animals in captivity. Our recommended wildlife interactions are always in natural habitats and conducted ethically.

Environmental Initiatives

We support and share various environmental initiatives, from tree planting to beach clean-ups, allowing all travellers to leave a positive mark on the destinations they visit.

We believe travelling this way is the minimum standard we should strive for, with our ultimate goal being regenerative travel that actively heals and revitalises the places we visit.

Our Thoughts

Sustainable travel is not just a trend; it’s a necessity for the future of our planet. By making responsible choices, we can enjoy the wonders of travel while ensuring that the destinations we love are preserved for future generations. Tree Hugger Travel believes it is the minimum standard we should strive for, with our ultimate goal being regenerative travel that actively heals and revitalises the places we visit.

Let's Travel for Good​

Snorkellers on the reef with a huge Humphead or Maori Wrasse.
1 Day Tour
Sustainable Travel

Cairns Eco Reef Cruise

from A$260.00

Daintree River Drift Experience includes inflatable river sleds and walking through a rainforest river system.
½ Day Tour
Sustainable Travel

Daintree River Drift Experience

from A$145.00

Every Daintree Wildlife Journey includes the best equipment to view and spot the Daintree's iconic species.
1 Day Tour
Sustainable Travel

Daintree Wildlife Journey

from A$400.00