Reducing the Environmental Impact of Tourism

September 3, 1997

By Michael Jessen

Travel has become an important part of both business and leisure pursuits in recent years.

The conflict between the natural desire to visit beautiful lakes and mountains and the need to prevent damage to those places is presently giving many people food for thought. Increasingly, holiday companies are offering 'green' holidays such as canoeing, hiking, cycling or kayaking, which permit appreciation of nature with minimal damage.

Waste is one aspect of such travel and tourism, but it is perhaps one of the less complex aspects, requiring practical approaches rather than philosophical ones.

For some time hotels and conference centres have been growing aware of the measures they can implement to reduce their waste and their environmental impact. The use of refillable soap dispensers, and notices asking guests to reuse towels to reduce laundry, are just two of them. Waste management professionals have long been aware of the huge increase in waste quantities that resorts have to deal with during the holiday season. Not only does the amount of waste change, but so does its composition, with typically much more paper and plastic reflecting the holiday-makers' lifestyle.

'Take only photographs and leave only footprints' has been cited as the environmentally conscious traveller's code of conduct.

Whether we travel for business or leisure, we all have a contribution to make to travel which does not leave damage - or waste - in its wake.

All columns archived here are copyright © 1999 by Michael Jessen, all rights reserved. If you wish to print an individual column for your own use, please do so. If you wish to publish any of the columns in either print or electronic format, please contact the author at to arrange appropriate payment.