Travelling GOOD in New Zealand
A recent article on ITA’s blog featured New Zealand as a Top Sustainable Destinations for 2018. So if you’re considering a trip to Aotearoa (New Zealand) this year, how can you ensure that you have a positive impact while you’re here?
Support GOOD tourism businesses
One of the best ways to transform the tourism industry into a force for GOOD is to spend your dollars at tourism businesses that share your values for sustainable tourism.
The easiest way to find GOOD accommodations, restaurants and tour companies in New Zealand is to familiarise yourself with the different programmes we have here. There are quite a few – so we’ve provided a quick summary to help.
Qualmark is our official quality accreditation programme for tourism businesses. They assess businesses in four key criteria: health & safety, environment, social/people and economic. This is a full accreditation programme, so businesses that are certified by Qualmark have been through a detailed process to ensure that they meet Qualmark criteria. Find Qualmark certified businesses here.
Committed to Sustainable Tourism is another logo to look out for. Led by Tourism Industry Aotearoa, the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment asks businesses to sign-up to 14 sustainability commitments. Businesses who join this programme do so on a voluntary, self-reporting basis – so it’s important to still ask questions about their practices. Find examples of businesses who have adopted the commitment here.
The Sustainable Business Network Directory provides a great diversity of businesses who are offering sustainable solutions in New Zealand. They’re not solely focused on tourism businesses, but they include a variety of businesses ranging from electric vehicle car share schemes to organic retailers. Search their directory here.
We recommend downloading the Conscious Consumers App to help you find cafes and restaurants that align with your values while you’re in New Zealand. Their App will also give you great deals and let you track how much you’ve spent at accredited businesses. Learn more about Conscious Consumers here.
The Enviro-Mark, carboNZero and CEMARS programmes enable efficient and credible carbon footprint calculation, reporting and reduction. They are not just for tourism businesses, but certified businesses in New Zealand do include a number of tourism businesses. Find CaroNZero certified businesses here.
You will also find a range of international programmes here in New Zealand including EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism.
And don’t be shy to share feedback and suggestions with the tourism businesses you connect with while you’re here. A recent study released by Green Lodgings showed that 44 percent of surveyed hotels stated that guest comments had led to them to make a change towards sustainability in 2017.
Learn about New Zealand culture
Before you arrive in New Zealand, take the time to learn about our history and culture. Haka Tours shares some important cultural dos and don’ts you should be aware of. New Zealand Māori Tourism also have some great tips on what to know and what to say in New Zealand, as well as lots of examples for how you can learn more about Māori culture while you’re here.
Minimise the waste you leave behind
Our tap water in New Zealand is delicious, so there’s no reason to be buying bottled water while you’re here. Bring a reusable water bottle with you and fill up as you go. Unfortunately single-use plastic bags are still offered in many of our supermarkets, so please say No when you’re offered one! And try not to contribute to our food waste problem too – check out the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign for some great tips on reducing your food waste. We also encourage you to look for locally made products (NZ Made) to reduce the impact of transport – but for imported products look for the Fair Trade certification on a range of products from cotton to coffee.
Decrease your carbon footprint
New Zealand’s a long way away, so chances are you’ll already have had a big carbon footprint just getting here. Make sure you offset the carbon footprint of your flights, but also try to reduce your carbon emissions once you’re here.
The more environmentally friendly modes of transportation are often slower – think walking, cycling, going by bus or train and kayaking vs driving, motorbikes and motorboats. But by travelling at a slower pace, you’ll have the opportunity to really get to know the places you travel through and the people you meet along the way.
If you do need a vehicle, check out the electric vehicle options we have here – from cars to camper vans, they are a great eco option. Or when in the main cities (Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington) check out the various electric car share or bike rental options.
We also recommend a trip to the Living in Peace Project which has a 31-hectare (80-acre) regenerating bush property to carbon offset the emissions associated with their business.
Volunteer and give back
Form a lasting connection with New Zealand by contributing your time and energy while you’re here. We have heaps of volunteering opportunities that will enable you to connect with our beautiful country in a truly memorable way. Take a look at Conservation Volunteers or check out volunteering opportunities with our Department of Conservation. If you don’t have enough spare time to volunteer, you can still become part of New Zealand’s conservation work by making a donation to restoring New Zealand’s waterways through Million Metres Streams.
In summary, being a GOOD traveller anywhere in the world is about being conscious and reflective of why, where and how you travel. We hope this article has given you some ideas for how to achieve this during your trip to New Zealand. We look forward to welcoming you to our home!
GOOD Travel is a social enterprise based in New Zealand working globally to transform the tourism industry into a force for GOOD. Their mission is to inspire and empower travellers to have a positive social, economic and environmental impact on the places they visit.
The Sustainable Business Network is a non-profit organisation working to change the way we work in New Zealand to put people and nature first. Over the last 15 years, hundreds of organisations from all over New Zealand have come together to be part of the Sustainable Business Network.