Lonely Planet Writer

World Tourism Day: learn how these destinations are promoting sustainable travel

There’s no doubt travel is booming – World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures show that tourist numbers increased around the globe in the beginning of the year. This year also marks the UNWTO’s Year of Sustainable Tourism – well-timed as more and more destinations around the world ponder how to make sure tourism benefits their communities. To celebrate World Tourism Day, here’s how some destinations around the world are encouraging sustainable travel.

Fantastic sunset that shines on buildings and reflected in the water. Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city in Netherlands.
Amsterdam is looking at a tourist tax to help keep tourism sustainable. Image by ©Standret/Shutterstock

Amsterdam’s gorgeous canal-lined city centre draws in tourists from around Europe and the world. But with only 850,000 residents, the city is weighing up how to cope with the roughly 17 million tourists that visit each year. In an effort to encourage travellers to give more back to the community, Amsterdam has announced plans to increase its tourist tax by €10 per night.

The Rio di San Cassiano Canal with boats and colorful facades of old medieval houses in Venice, Italy. Bell-tower of San Cassiano (Church of Saint Cassian) is visible in background.
Venice is trying to ensure tourism stays sustainable. Image by ©Efired/Shutterstock

In order to encourage travellers to have an authentic experience in the busy city of Venice, one couple created Venezia Autentica, a company that aims to provide travellers with information on how to travel sustainably and responsibly in the historic Italian city. It  will also connect travellers with locals if they want services like catering or photography, keeping money in the community.

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland.
The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland Image by ©Jaroslav Sekeres/Shutterstock

The gorgeous scenery of Scotland’s Isle of Skye was recently shown off to the world in a tourism campaign that was so successful, the island was hit with a huge increase in visitors. The magical allure of the island has meant that travellers adore the spot, but locals are calling for a long-term sustainable tourism plan to make sure the island’s beauty remains.

One of Lisbon's classic trams travels through the streets.
Fly direct to Lisbon with Delta. Image by ©Farbregas Hareluya/Shutterstock

Lisbon is booming in popularity as a European destination, but with surging visitor numbers, locals are thinking up ways to make sure visitors have a good experience. In response, “We Hate Tourism Tours” is aiming to help travellers understand the city better and mingle with locals.

Damselfish swim in shallow water in Palau's inner lagoon. Palau is known for its beautiful rock islands, prolific marine life, and world class scuba diving and snorkeling.
Palau is mulling ways to keep tourism sustainable. Image by Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock

The island nation of Palau is hoping to keep travel sustainable by only allowing five-star hotels to open. The plans were spurred by concerns about the effect of mass tourism on the delicate coral reef ecosystem that surrounds the islands.

To help educate people around the world about sustainable tourism, Lonely Planet has launched a partnership with the UNWTO, committing to highlight the impact of tourism and showcase the importance and potential of tourism as a tool for development.