It was World Responsible Tourism Day this week (November 5th), and we celebrated in the Urban Adventures Toronto office with a full-on #localsknow party, co-hosted by our good friends at Intrepid Travel and Exodus.
Featuring great guest speakers from local Ontario businesses Southbrook Vineyards (Canada’s first biodynamic winery) and The Healthy Butcher (a shop committed to ethical, sustainable farming, and a stop on our When Pigs Fry tour), and lessons from Toronto travel photographer Justin Harrington, we challenged guests to think local whenever they can.
In addition to chatting with our local experts, guests got to play games that tested their travel knowledge, and sample goodies from The Healthy Butcher and Southbrook Vineyards, as well as from Wellington Brewery, Canada’s oldest independent microbrewery.
Guests were challenged to “tour the world,” collecting passport stamps at six destination-themed stations, where they could learn about anything from organic wine-making in Niagara to social etiquette in Nepal. With a full passport, guests were entered to win an Urban Adventure for two anywhere in the world.
While the night was certainly a party, it also had a very important message, summed up nicely in a speech by our own digital marketing coordinator, Sarah: “Responsible travel is all about choices. We may not have the choice whether we get jet lag or miss our flight, or whether our luggage makes it to our destination. But we do have the choice to be responsible. And for us at Urban Adventures, that means supporting local.”
Amid all the games, music, snacks, and conversation, we asked guests to share what responsible travel means to them. Here are some of our favourite tips from our savvy community of responsible travellers:
- Learn basic phrases in the country’s native language
- Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are the best places to eat
- Skip the zoos and visit an animal sanctuary instead
- Hop on a bicycle…and see where it takes you
- Learn how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language
- Reduce, reuse, recyle! Be aware of your eco footprint
- Reuse your hotel soap and shampoo on your next trip to reduce waste
- Be mindful of behaviour and taking photos in sacred spaces — people may be praying
- Refill your drink bottle where you can
Have your own responsible tip to add? Let us know in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #localsknow.