Does your destination have a pledge?
In times of Covid19, it is important to get as much fresh air and stay healthy as possible, so I spend my free time hiking around Iceland´s nature and constantly remind myself of being a responsible traveler. That is to follow tracks, not leave anything behind in nature, make a safe selfie, not to jump on the moss and so on. Not everyone has this in mind and in recent years this is something that needed to be constantly reminded off to travelers in Iceland.
Therefore, in 2017, Iceland offered its travelers visiting the country to become a responsible tourist by signing The Icelandic Pledge. The pledge was to positively influence the behavior of visitors and their understanding of the importance of sustainability and responsible tourism in Iceland. This is as I know the first pledge that was done for a whole country.
Few months later you also saw pledges in other countries; Hawaii with what they call Pono Pledge, New Zealand with Tiaki Care for New Zeland and Finland created a Sustainabile Finland Pledge. Recently I also saw that Visit California published a California Responsible Travel Code. There are likely many more and some pledges you can sign online and others not. In my mind, that is not important.
I however, truly believe that pledges or travel codes that are created and put together with all relevant stakeholders can be an important tool towards sustainability. By getting commitment from stakeholders, they will be ready to share it and encourage their travelers to read and be inspired. Destinations will never be able to control the behavior of their travelers, but it is possible to influence, tell a positive story and in that way keep a focus together with its stakeholders towards sustainability. As I think that travelers also, do not want to harm nature, culture or societies while traveling but they at times just don’t know what is right or wrong and this is one way for the destination to assist in that matter.
Does your destination have a pledge or travel code?