Today is World Tourism Day (WTD) with a theme of “Tourism & Sustainable Energy – Powering Sustainable Development”.
Since 1970 on 27th September every year, the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) uses the day to celebrate the importance of tourism, fostering awareness of the array of relevant social, cultural, political and economic values.
With Tourism continuing to expand as one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, this year’s theme of ‘Tourism & Sustainable Energy’ is indeed apt. In the first six months of this year there were 467 million recorded travelling tourists, which means that international tourism looks likely to pass the one billion mark before the end 2012.
Similarly as it is now one of the major players in international communications, development and commerce ‘powering sustainable developments’ must be a mainstay focus. The fact is Tourism should be a force for good, leading the way in driving socio-economic progress, especially in the developing world.
The juggling act however, is how quickly technology can address Tourism’s energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, whilst keeping the focus on protecting the planet, creating jobs and lifting people out of poverty.
As the scientists work on producing more energy efficient aircraft and passenger efficiency we, in our own way at Nomadic Thoughts, have tried to keep step with embracing sustainable energy projects by engaging both our clients and the destinations we operate in.
We were very proud to be award-winners at the British Travel Awards in the “Most Environmentally & Socially Responsible Small Tour Operator of the Year Award”.
Nomadic Thoughts have been supporters of TICOS (Tourism Industry Carbon Off Set Service) for the past five years – with the vast majority of our clients opting to off-set their carbon footprint with thousands of pounds worth of ‘energy saving project’ donations.
We are very proud to have supported two particularly impressive sustainable energy programmes (1) a solar stoves project in South Africa; (2) the implementation of solar panels in the Druk White Lotus School in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, India.
I am personally very pleased we are involved with these projects as they operate in destinations close to my heart. Many years ago I contracted malaria in Africa and then viral-hepatitis in India. The results of which meant that I was bed bound for over a month in each case. In Africa and Ladakh I was cared for by local people in their own homes. The temple based family I stayed in Africa could only cook with firewood. The mountain village and Ladakh family house I recovered in had no heating and little power.
Our belief is that these two new projects will assist both the local community and the environment.
In addition we are members of the Travel Foundation who are presently working in Sri Lanka to help hotels reduce their energy, water consumption and waste generation by at least 20%. Out of 684 hotels, 240 have already signed up to the project.
Nomadic Thoughts have also previously assisted the Travel Foundation with sustainable hotel water & energy conservation initiatives in Morocco.
As a small company we will continue to be energy aware and hopefully ‘power sustainable development’ whenever possible.