The United Nations have chosen the year 2017 to be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Why was tourism chosen to promote sustainable development?

In a world where travel has become such an essential part of people’s lives, choosing the impact we have when traveling has become very important. Here is a little about how we can help through our choices as travelers and tour providers.

Inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

With an ever-growing economic impact and importance in the world economy, sustainable tourism is a vital factor in creating a fair distribution of wealth. When we operate tourism responsibly, it is inclusive to all those living in the place of destination. That means that not only a small exclusive group can benefit from the increased income from the travelers. When we do this thoughtfully, we can sustain this economic growth to benefit future generations.

Social inclusiveness, employment, and poverty reduction

The inclusiveness works to include people of all social classes, gender, and background. We can do this by employing a diverse group of people and doing business with locals. This leads to economic empowerment at your place of destination and poverty reduction in areas where poverty is prevalent.

Resource efficiency, environmental protection, and climate change

Even if traveling always involves fuel consumption, one should still be mindful to choose the mode of transport carefully. When you select slow travel enjoying each place to the fullest, you also reduce the impact each journey has. Deciding to buy locally sourced products is another way to reduce the impact you make. It is also crucial to take care of the environment wherever you go. 

The sentiment to take only pictures and leave only footprints is a perfect one in this case, even if it would be best not to leave even footprints. Here in Iceland, for instance, there is a very delicate arctic nature where the soft and beautiful moss looks perfect for walking on, or to roll in. But this moss is fragile and takes years or even decades to recover when damaged by human activity. Tourism can also create a financial basis for preservation efforts on a worldwide basis. 

Cultural values, diversity, and heritage

Tourism has a unique opportunity to share cultural values and diversity to the visitors coming to any given place. While travel is the perfect medium for showcasing diverse cultural values, this does not happen automatically. We are the ones that choose what cultural traits to show. This requires a conscious mind to give equal importance to different cultures that live in the same place. Each country, city, or village has its traditions and diverse cultural traits. Those can only be experienced fully with an open mind.

Vopnafjörður, East Iceland, Museum, Iceland

Mutual understanding, peace, and security 

Through the chance of sharing cultural values, tourism has the opportunity to increase mutual understanding between different cultures and thus help create a more peaceful and safe world for all of us. Ignorance and prejudice are among the prime reasons for many for negative feelings between nations and cultures. With information, empathy, and understanding, tourism can help build a better world.

How we at Tinna Adventure want to take part in this movement

Tinna Adventure is a family-run tour company in East Iceland. We make a point to do business with local providers. And we also strive to give visitors a look into local life through cooperation with companies and individuals. 

We care profoundly about the environment and do our best to leave the places we visit the same as when we came or even better. This is why we choose to offer slow travel tours where our guests can enjoy each site to the fullest as opposed to rushing between places in the shortest time possible. In the effort to leave the places we visit even better than they were before, we carry a trash bag in our cars on all our tours to clean the nature we appreciate so dearly. Furthermore, we go regularly to pick up the trash that washes ashore with the sea to make sure it does not continue to endanger marine life. 

#IY17, trash, clean Iceland, sustainable tourism

The trash collected at the beach in one day. 

Despite using large vehicles to be able to access many of the places we visit, we are aware of the impact these cars can have. That is why we choose the Toyota Land Cruiser because it uses less fuel than many other vehicles that are popular for conversion to a Super Jeep. And to expand the options for nature preservation, we offer yoga hikes and bicycle tours as well. 

For official information about the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, you can have a look at their website.