Our goal is to show you the most beautiful spots on our planet and how to visit them on a low budget. However, we do not want to do so without sharing some thoughts on sustainable tourism. Sustainability means “to meet the needs of the present [in economic, ecological as well as social/cultural terms] without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and choose their own way of life” (Brundtland Commission, 1987). Please note that irresponsible tourism is not sustainable and can have a huge negative impact on our world.
"Der Tourist zerstört, was er sucht, indem er es findet."
(This quote comes from the German author Hans Magnus Enzensberger and means „the tourist destroys what he seeks by finding it.“)
Sometimes governments plan to change certain areas into tourist places (mostly for economic reasons). But often new spots are discovered by adventurous backpackers who search for unspoiled destinations. Backpackers do not have a high demand on transport, accommodation or food, so local people start to build homestays, hostels or small restaurants. Because of this alternative income to agriculture or handicraft, they can raise their standard of living and start sending their kids to school or even university. A higher income can also provide access to health care. Without doubt these are positive effects of tourism. At this stage the impact on the culture as well as on natural resources are still on a low level. But when the place becomes more popular (or is even mentioned in a guide book) the number of tourists increases a lot.
Infrastructure, such as an airport, a road network, a water supply or waste disposal system, needs to be built or be improved to cope with a higher capacity of people. Often keeping pace with the rapidly growing number of tourists is difficult and the local people (and their governments) are easily overstrained. Finally big, foreign investors and companies smell the profit and start building hotels and resorts, often without permission. Additionally inadequate local laws or corruption make it easy to ignore the needs of the local communities and most of the profit does not stay in the country.
This stage of mass tourism is very problematic since often the social and ecological aspects are also totally neglected. The results for the local people and their natural environment can be disastrous: soil surface sealing, changes in landscape, waste of resources (e.g. shortage of fresh water), pollution, loss of the original landscape and destruction of natural habitats (e.g. forests, coral reefs etc.), loss of cultural identity, exploitation of local people/workers, prostitution, increasing prices for land and food and many more. Frequently these things go hand in hand with displacements of the local population from their homes. These problems occur more or less at every popular tourist destination around the globe (e.g. on many islands of Thailand, Bali, the coastlines of Sri Lanka and Mexico, the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain, the Egyptian Red Sea coast, on many Caribbean islands – only to mention a few). In addition to all this, the global tourism sector is growing rapidly and will continue to do so for the next decades. Please keep these things in mind when travelling and exploring the world with its beautiful places and people. Leave as few traces as possible!
In a foreign country you are only a guest – please respect that, behave properly and be friendly to the local people. It's always nice to smile at someone and get a smile back in return. :)
08.01.2017 - Chris
Our Thoughts on Air Travel and Climate Change
The actual global warming debate makes more and more people think critically about travelling, especially by airplane. This is a very complex subject and we feel the need to write at least a few lines about our thoughts on this and about why this travel website (still) has its legitimation. First of all we think it is necessary to differentiate between different types of and reasons for travelling by plane. On the one hand, there are travels such as simple long-distance beach trips, unnecessary business travels or trips to destinations that could easily be reached by other forms of public transport. Yes, in these cases it makes sense to consider not taking an airplane. On the other hand, there are travels to explore the world and experience different countries and cultures, especially done by young people. Many of the countries that differ a lot from your home country are too far away to be reached without an airplane. But we think the pros of travelling there (by plane) outweigh the cons, also because of the following reasons:
• Especially nowadays, where populists, nationalists and racists increasingly make their voices heard, it becomes extremely vital to span bridges between nations and cultures. Meeting people from other countries while travelling and getting in touch with other cultures is a great experience and can build international friendships for a lifetime. It is important that people from all over the world get in touch with each other, exchange opinions, respect each other and recognize that we all belong to the same human family. Only this conviction can make the world a better place to live in social, political, ecological and economic stability.
• Being confronted with impressive ecosystems and cultures in reality can cause emotional bonds. To see the impacts of inappropriate handling with natural resources e.g. deforestation or destroyed coral reefs can raise awareness for the planet’s vulnerability and create a future lifestyle that helps to protect these resources, e.g. by a more conscious consumer behavior and the support of environmental organizations.
• The travel industry supports nearly 10 (!) per cent of the world’s working population. Also in developing countries growing numbers of people generate their main income in the tourist sector. As a result they can send their children to school and improve their living standards. Both can lead to a reduction of the birth rate, which again leads to a reduced resource consumption and lower CO2 emissions in the future.
• Without doubt the establishment of touristic infrastructure and touristic activities generate CO2 emissions and cause negative impacts on ecosystems. But if humans are depending on tourism as their main source of income, they start to appreciate the added value of an intact ecosystem and protect important resources. Many national parks and natural reserves worldwide have been founded and protected primarily because of their touristic potential.
26.01.2020 - Chris