The yearning to travel is not something new but when it comes to traveling responsibly, many are clueless.
Over the last few years, multiple tourist spots around the world had to be shut down for long periods of time due to the immense pressure faced by the overburdening of tourists. From beaches being shut down due to over pollution to cultures getting trampled on, excessive tourism crowd can take its toll on places. Thanks to myriads of pro-environment campaigns, the scenario is slowly changing. Millennials, especially, have been recently catching on to the rising trend of following ethical travel practices that make a minimal impact on the environment while benefiting locals. And one of the favourite platforms they are utilizing to get their voices heard is the visually appealing Instagram.
Sustainable tourism can mean just getting to know the locals of an area and camping with them instead of staying in expensive hotels or even carrying your own water so to avoid buying plastic bottles. Instagrammer Shivya Nath’s account is a showcase of multiple such acts where she speaks to her audience about traveling responsibly and trying to reduce carbon footprints.
“When I realised that Instagram is where the masses are and where they are ready to listen, I understood that Instagram was the way to go,” explains Kritika Singh Bisen whose account is a prime example of sustainable travel content. According to her, the idea of turning her Instagram account into a stage for traveling responsibly also came from observing other Instagrammers talking about climate change and the traumatizing effects of human behaviour on the planet. Talking about her goal behind this page, she reveals, “I hope to live a better life and be better as a person. If I can be the best version of myself and encourage others to do the same, it can be of a great impact. If you can change one individual at a time, then you can be a part of betterment.”
With 12.5k followers, Instagrammer duo Ravi and Ellie call their journey of spreading awareness, “mindful traveling.” Other than posting aesthetic photos of their travels, they also provide various tips and tricks for traveling in a sustainable manner in the photo captions. They also answer many frequently asked questions about sustainable tourism.
Garima Mishra, an avid traveler says, “The best part of following these accounts is that they often travel to the same places that I have been to. But they always talk about people and traditions that stayed hidden from me because of their interactions with locals.” “I have come across a few responsible tourism initiatives on Instagram that have truly impressed me. The idea of making a positive impact on the environment while vacationing is an effective way of encouraging mass participation,” believes Pratistha Raut, a college student.
While these Instagram accounts influence travelers to do their bit by being responsible, other not-so-avid travelers also take notes from such accounts. “I currently don’t have the income for personal travel, but in general I have become more conscious of reducing my carbon footprint, avoiding single-use plastics and being mindful of not imposing my habits onto local practices,” says another Instagram user Nayanika Mukherjee.
Small efforts like packing light, cleaning up after oneself and taking the roadways, instead of the airways can go a long way.