Today marks the start of 2023’s National Travel & Tourism Week, and we're here for it because we believe that travel can bridge differences, encourage understanding and spark wonder in even the most jaded of souls. And while travel has huge benefits for humankind, it can play a role in the destruction of historic sites and wild habitats. So, how can we wander and adventure responsibly? Start by using these three ethical travel tips for ensuring that your next trip doesn't cause harm:
✔ Avoid tourist-trap attractions where wild or captive animals are being starved/overfed, coerced or exploited for a photo op. Wild babies shouldn’t become entertainment and Insta-fodder for tourists. And when wild animals get conditioned to expect food from humans, all sorts of tragedies can result.
✔ Stay on the right path. Don't hike in closed parklands, camp in protected preserves or walk in forbidden areas to snap a photo or get that bucket-list experience. These places are off-limits for a reason and you could harm ancient or sacred sites, historic trails or fragile ecosystems just by walking through them. Scientists estimate that Joshua Tree National Park may take as much as 300 years to recover from the damage it sustained from over-tourism during the COVID shutdown. 😱
✔ Speak up if you encounter animal or land abuse. Report what you see to local natural resources police or local authorities. Don't stay quiet—the animals and the planet need our voice.