Start planning the basic elements of a trip
Domestic tourism has been on the rise recently. Popularity in Finland has been particularly affected by climate issues, as domestic travel is generally considered to be a more responsible option than international travel.
However, traveling domestically does not automatically mean responsible tourism. Thus, a responsible traveler also plans and reflects on his or her choices when traveling domestically.
Visit Finland’s sustainable tourism project manager Liisa Kokkarinen says that it is worth starting to build a responsible domestic journey through the basic elements of the journey.
– The basic elements that usually make up a trip are travel, accommodation, dining, and the experiences and activities at the destination. If you want a responsible trip in your home country, I recommend splitting the trip into these parts and going through it to build the trip.
When leaving for a trip, the first means of transport to the destination is usually chosen first. A flight from Helsinki to Lapland is not necessarily a more responsible choice than flying from Helsinki abroad.
– If the carbon footprint of flying is thoughtful, you should consider other options. For example, a bus or train may be a more sensible option for a responsible traveler.
In addition, a car can be a good choice if you are leaving for a trip with a car out of full. Kokkarinen says that the combination of different vehicles has also become a popular option. This means that part of the journey is, for example, by train and part by bus.
Check out the accommodation options in advance
When booking accommodation, you should check out the different options in advance. For example, you can research accommodation websites and see if they have information on how the host has taken responsibility into account in its operations.
– It is worth finding out if the accommodation has, for example, a certificate that indicates the responsibility of the activity. Certificates are one way for a traveler to easily find responsible accommodation for themselves.
For example, the Green Key eco-label is one of the certificates that indicates the environmental friendliness of the accommodation. In April 2020, there will be 91 Green Key-labeled accommodations in Finland. Good choices for responsible accommodation are also small accommodations with lower environmental impact and consumption.
Prefer local restaurants and local food
When talking about a responsible trip abroad, the preference for local food often comes to the fore. Local food should also be preferred when traveling domestically.
– Finnish food is valued in Finland, but when traveling, it is worth favoring food from the area instead of just domestic food.
If you prefer local food when traveling, emissions from food transportation will also be reduced and support the local economy.
Take advantage of nature activities and local experiences
According to Kokkarinen, on a domestic trip, it is worth favoring activities that move with your own muscles, such as cycling, hiking, trolling or canoe trips. Finland has a huge offer of nature activities, which is good to utilize.
– In addition, it is worth favoring the experiences offered by the locals. For example, cooking classes are good because they often teach you how to make local food. Even if you are Finnish, you may not know how barley is made in Lapland.
The skills learned in the cooking courses can also be utilized at home and the experience can be returned to again and again.
– There are a huge number of responsible tourism operators in Finland. The aim would be to make the responsibility communication of operators as easy as possible for consumers, as more and more people make value-based choices when traveling, Kokkarinen says.
Visit Finland has created the Sustainable Travel Finland development path and brand for sustainable tourism for Finnish tourism companies and regions. The criterion of the label is commitment to the principles of sustainable development. The label makes it easy to communicate to both the tourist and the tour operator about responsible destinations. The first companies and regions to receive the label were published on June 1, 2020.
Text: Julia Asikainen
Photos: Inka Khanji
Source: Rantapallo.fi – Suomen suosituin matkailumedia by www.rantapallo.fi.
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