It’s not easy. When you start defining what sustainable tourism is, your head is full of grand words – sustainability itself is one of these, not really explainable in simple language. On the other hand, your head is full of negatives: don’t overcrowd, don’t spoil, don’t use too much of the resources… I don’t really feel good about any of these approaches as a straightforward way to explain sustainable tourism to a kid.

My personal feelings about places where you can enjoy sustainable tourism are, as Lisa Chase said: ‘I like it because it has yet to be ruined by people like me’, but it is hard to put that feeling into some kind of definition. Especially because wants to bring sustainable tourist experience as an alternative to places that have already seen their fair share of unsustainability. You can have your cake and eat it at the same time.

Sustainable tourism, enjoying nature

Sustainable tourism: hard to define, easy to live

To find the explanation I tried to put myself in shoes of a kid that has to write a school essay about his holidays, spent in a place not yet ruined by people like me-parent. What I realized is that I have many memories of such trips when I was a kid myself and lots of material for great school essays. Sustainable tourism for me is like when our parents took us to visit distant relatives that we’ve never met before. We had to behave, there was respect for the people and the places we visited and for the customs we observed.

However, sustainable tourism is not only about the people that you are visiting, it is also about the visitor. It is a feeling that you belong to the place, it grows on you like you’ve been living there for some time already. It is a place where if you visit now, in a few days the waiters know your preferences, and you know their names and your kids are playing with the locals.

Kids are naturals

Kids are naturals

We have to give good examples to our kids, take them to places where they can be in touch with nature and teach them respect for the environment and for different cultures. If they can really become part of the community in a small way, they will be able to write fabulous essays about holiday adventures. However, simple the truth is, we don’t have to explain the concept of sustainable tourism to our kids, but we should learn that concept from them. All around the world kids do this naturally when they visit new playground. They find the way to play with each other and they soon have a sense of belonging.

Our Facebook feeds are full of toddlers making friends over physical and cultural obstacles. We should behave just like that when we visit somewhere, and we should encourage our kids never to lose that sense of belonging to our shared humanity and to enjoy the richness of our differences. We should encourage them to explore and get to know the places and people they visit, and to contribute to the community that welcomed them.

Holiday lettings through give you the chance to do just that. You can visit some of the most wanted places on tourist itineraries, from Venice to Amsterdam passing through Barcelona, Valencia, Genoa and Bologna, as a valued member of the community. You show respect for the people and the place you visit by choosing to arrange for your accommodation because is a real cooperative of local people to solve local problems. Then, the community shows respect for you, because endorses real local holiday lettings, and because you personally decide for which of the social projects you want to donate the fee. It is the real experience of connection to the place and to the people. Enjoy it!

Branka Tokic

Branka Tokic

Freelance Consultant