Any journey has an impact on the environment. An airplane, a major consumer of fuel, is a producer of notorious greenhouse gas emissions. But why deny yourself the discovery of a new country, a distant continent or remote island when you can offset the environmental impact of air travel?
Shanti Travel will try to help you by educating you more about sustainable tourism through its concept of SOFT travel. Responsible and sustainable travel begins with preparing the route but once you land in your destination till the time you get back home, you need to put in greater efforts to offset the CO2 emissions produced during your flights.
Before departure: providing a route of shorter distances
To discover a country, the easiest way is often to hire a car. In India and Asia, the drivers are capable of facilitating responsible travel. In order to reduce fuel consumption, Shanti Travel strives to select its tour cars according to their average consumption and age (all our cars are less than three years and are reviewed after each trip). We can create routes with shorter distances without compromising on the travel highlights in order to save fuel and thus abate the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
What should you do in case of hundreds of kilometers?
When organizing a trip in Asia this scenario occurs quite often. And it is at this point that our travel consultants will offer alternative modes of transportation: boat or train. A train is a perfect alternative to the car. In India, trains are air conditioned and cheap. Throughout Asia, train travel allows authentic interactions with the local population and necessary rest. Often overnight trains are safe, effective and more or less on time.
Are you an athlete and not afraid to travel miles on foot, horseback or bicycle?
One of our best solutions to avoid pollution is of course, non-motorized travel! A trek of several days may allow you to discover all of Western Bhutan, central Sri Lanka and even cross the Zanskar… all without a gram of CO2 emitted. Another type of SOFT trip that we focus on is journeying on horseback. In Rajasthan, camel riding through the desert is a viable and unique option.
To prepare for a slightly difficult journey, one must choose the right mode of transport and especially know the solutions on site. To do this, using a local travel agency is essential. Travel counselors live there all year and know the best places to visit or the best ways to travel locally: by bus, train, local taxi or a shared auto-rickshaw. They are there to help you make an important decision for the future of the planet.
Learn about the local economy before leaving
In order to stay in harmony with the habits of the local population, you need to read and understand the local economy even before arriving in the country! Traveling to the heart of India and expecting to eat meat every day is not necessarily the best way to adapt to the local economy based on the production of rice, wheat and vegetables.
Once there, green travel makes sense
Sustainable and responsible travel is a philosophy. Stop unsustainable routes that require the car every day! Stop internal flights! Welcome local food! Welcome environmentally friendly accommodation! And most importantly … Welcome dear travelers, in a country that is not yours and that must be respected even more than yours.
Be responsible in your sustainable travel, observe your environment!
To experience clean and responsible travel, Shanti Travel recommends simple things:
– Do not collect flowers and scare animals. During your visits to protected areas, do not leave the trails. This will prevent you or other visitors from disturbing places that nestle breeding areas or water sources essential to the survival of the species (especially in arid areas).
– Be aware that the local economy does not work like in your country. In Asia, the economy is often agriculture oriented once you are out of the big cities. Do not expect to go shopping or to drink beer in the depths of the Himalayas (although the second solution is often possible, if this is the case, go down with your empty bottles and used plastics until the nearest dustbin).
– Once there, you must adapt to the local culture. No, we’re not asking you to drink tap water, but at least not to consume (and thus discard) several bottles of water per day. Adapting to local culture also involves food. You should eat locally and avoid imported products.
– Which host should you choose? Shanti Travel offers many homestays and eco-cottages. In the nights that you spend in the “guest room” (always the cleanest and best furnished house) of a family in the countryside you will be closest to the local population. .
If I go to Asia during the summer, won’t I be using the air-conditioner a lot?
Yes, air conditioning consumes a lot of energy. However, we know the right addresses! There are many accommodations that are cooling their properties through clean and renewable energy.
Finally, while choosing your accommodation with our travel advisors, they will advise selective properties known for their quality and location. If you can adapt, using a ceiling fan is one of the simplest solutions. Choosing a simple and secluded accommodation in the middle of a natural park will bring you a lot more freshness and is, undoubtedly, an environmentally friendly solution. However, in hot countries in Asia, in summer particularly, using only a fan is perhaps not the best solution. We would advise you to spend your summer in Asia in high altitude destinations such as Ladakh, Nepal or Bhutan. You can choose from our many SOFT travel programs in these regions.
How to offset the impact of my trip once I return home?
Once you go back home, it could not be easier: low consumption of electricity, household waste sorting, composting vegetable waste, taking the bike instead of the car, or if the distance is long, taking public transportation! By choosing Shanti Travel, you have set the routine in motion!
For Shanti Travel, this is a daily endeavor
The struggle of a travel agency to minimize the environmental impact of its travels is constant. For starters, Shanti Travel selects its suppliers based on their involvement in a sustainable local economy and promotes a rational development of local tourism. Even in its selection of internet providers, Shanti Travel is committed to corporate activists for cleaner servers.
To reinforce its commitment to sustainable development of local tourism, Shanti Travel included cleaning after each trek in Ladakh and supports the Association for Respect and Dignity of Porters of the Himalayas.
Once home, you can also support development projects put forward by Shanti Travel. Through projects and partnerships, Shanti Travel maintains a sustainable vision of the Asian economy:
– Matho – The Museum, which advocates the preservation of Ladakhi culture through a monastery museum in the heart of the Himalayan Mountains
– The Artyzan school in Pondicherry, which provides opportunities for street children to train and acquire the necessary knowledge to achieve a sustainable income in life
– The Non Governmental Organization of Handicapped Children in Sri Lanka, which helps disabled children to lead a healthy and safe life
Our vision of Slow Travel is a good example of harmony between the people of the world and sustainable development in the world of tourism. We have great pleasure to invite you to discover our SOFT travels throughout Asia.
And you? How do you compensate for the carbon emissions of your flights, car or even your high-tech tools? Share your ideas!