by Shiban Khan, Research and Katrin Scholz-Barth, President, SustainableQATAR
As we look forward to the summer holidays and plan our vacations, SustainableQATAR has chosen Holidays as the June theme for our 52-weekly challenges.
It is that time of the year again – when the hustle and bustle of life slows down and the long, quiet days of summer descend upon Qatar. Summer is also a time when a lot of residents travel out of the country, and those who remain relish the relaxed pace in Qatar.
We are excited to leave the heat and dust behind, fill our lungs with fresh air, hike in forests, swim in lakes and rivers, and visit friends and family. And while the idea makes us happy, many of us find the reality of planning a vacation and the associated costs to be scary.
Problem is, there is only one way out of Qatar – by air – and that blows our personal carbon footprint out of the water. Can you relate? So, what do we do to maximize our well-deserved vacation while doing our bit of responsibly traveling responsibly, taking only pictures and leaving only footprints behind?
We dream of blue skies and waters, sandy beaches and swaying in a hammock in a light breeze. Ahhh, it feels good! These kind of spots are becoming increasingly rare though. You may be surprised to learn that tourism generates 8% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally; which makes it a bigger GHG contributor than the construction industry!
The film The Beach, released in 2000, with star actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet, and Robert Carlyle was filmed on Ko Phi Phi Lee Island, near Phuket, Thailand. The film brought so much fame to the beach that millions of tourists descended on it, causing irreversible damage. The Thai government was compelled to close the beach so that it could recover, which ultimately prompted the Thai government to close the beach indefinitely.
What does this mean for us as consumers of tourism, at a collective and individual level? Whether we remain in Qatar during the summer or travel overseas, we can relax responsibly, and decide to be mindful of our impact. We, at SustainableQATAR, want to take you along on our quest for adventure and thrill, at home and abroad, becoming conscious travelers.
Have you been looking for new destinations and places to stay as well? Come join us over the next four weeks with our weekly challenges as we share a few of our favorite travel options that combine adventure and thrill, cost-savings, and a reduced ecological footprint.