As CEO of Sustentur, the Mexico-based Sustainable Tourism consultancy, Vicente Ferreyra is a delightful champion of responsible travel in Latin America and around the world.
His organisation runs a celebrated Sustainable Tourism Summit — where people like Harold Goodwin and Jeremy Sampson recently spoke — and he’s clear about just how important it is for every single tourist to improve the places they visit.
But how do you do that? How do you make sure that your impact on holiday is positive?
Just listen to Ferreyra.
“I’d like to invite you to think about them, and also take them with you next time you travel,” he adds.
Let’s dive in!
“To be able to get away from oversubscribed places, the places presented to us in tourist guides, and to discover our countries’ most beautiful corners. Our protected areas, our archeological sites, our environmental areas.”
Ferreyra adds that it’s of course important to ensure those new places are not put under strain, and that whenever people see a box for ‘optional’ donations, they put the money in — to protect those areas for the future.
“For our customs and our traditions. For our grandparents, who have maintained these traditions for generations, and who today, thanks to tourism, continue having them and passing those generations onto the generations that follow.”
“With our actions and our deeds. Aiming to always consume in a responsible way.
“Maybe, acting this way, we’d find that the best lobster in the world isn’t found in a Michelin-starred restaurant, but in the depths of our oceans. And that to fish it, cook it and eat it with our fisherman friends, in their house, is an experience that changes your life.”
“To accept that tourism is a lot more than a statistic. A lot more than a number that benefits the economy. Much more than a position in a league table, comparing states or countries. Tourism must be an experience for everyone taking part in the trip.”
“To a trip that’s a two way process. A trip that’s a ‘there and back again’. With a holiday that, of course, makes us happy, but also makes others happy too. At no point can we let our happiness turn into a nightmare for someone that lives in a holiday destination.”
Ending the talk, Ferreyra says that he lives in a beautiful place, which is also one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the world — Cancún. And in the 14 years he’s been there, more or less 50,000,000 tourists have visited the region.
“I’ve always asked myself: What percentage of them travel in responsibly? And what would be different if all of them had travelled in such a way?”
“So the next time you come to my house, or someone else’s, remember that your trip could change the lives of thousands of people for better, or for worse. Please make it be for the better.
“Let’s be responsible tourists.”