The world has plenty of wonderful places that excite, intrigue, and amaze us with their natural, cultural, and historical richness. Sadly, many of these places are under extensive pressure ecologically, economically, and culturally. As much as we love exploring new destinations, we can’t deny that mainstream tourism is one of the leading causes for their gradual degradation.
The foundation of Go! Running Tours lies on sustainable and responsible tourism. Through our tours, we are inching closer to the United Nations’ #Envision2030 goal to establish sustainable cities and communities. We believe we can explore and enjoy amazing destinations to the fullest and still leave a minimal footprint. We travel because we find a place beautiful and fascinating – and if we don’t take care of it, we’ll no longer have the place that attracts us.
Let us explain in further detail how our running tours are reducing environmental pollution, empowering the locals, and are countering over-tourism.
Lower Carbon Footprint
Tourism contributes to more than five per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. And tourism transportation alone is responsible for 90% of this. A substantial chunk of the air pollution is resulted from using buses, ferries, taxis, and tuk-tuks as sightseeing transportation. Walking and running are the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. As a running tour operator, we rely on muscle power instead of gasoline power to explore a destination.
Minimal Physical Impact and Land Degradation
Appealing landscapes like lakes, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, and mountains are often degraded by tourists and tourism activities. Besides natural attractions, the physical impact extends to prominent historical sites. It affects not only the physical beauty of the place but also the native flora and fauna. For example, Machu Picchu was forced to impose restrictions on the number of visitors to limit the damage caused to mass tourism.
We organise our running tours in small groups at places that are not ecologically vulnerable and are not prone to land degradation. We also rarely need any physical establishment – thereby reducing our dependence on permanent infrastructures.
No Solid Waste Pollution
Waste disposal and littering is a serious problem in regions of higher tourist concentration. On our running tours and multi-day running/hiking holidays, our vendors and city managers ensure that the solid waste is not littered and is disposed of or recycled in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, we are active in organising and participating in plogging events in several cities.
Empowered Local Guides and Local Economy
Our running tours are created and operated on the ground by qualified locals who adopt our tried-and-tested methods to provide unforgettable experiences to our guests. A majority share of the revenue from each booking goes to our local city managers and running guides.
Our local team is free to come up with new ideas, set their availability, design the tour route, and include activities and experiences. It means we empower the locals with entrepreneurial and creative energy. As a result, most of the revenue generated from our tours in an area stays in that area. Currently, we are operating our running tours with more than 70 local guides. And if we keep growing, we’ll continue forming excellent relationships with a lot more of them in the future.
Over-tourism has become a major concern in the last couple of decades in many popular tourist spots. In peak seasons during the non-pandemic times, hundreds of cities would swell up with tourists who outnumbered the residents. Evidently, both visitors and residents face unpleasant congestion. Besides, fewer tourists venture beyond the touristy stretch of a city. As a result, very little money seeps outside the main restaurants, cafes, accommodations, shopping, and entertainment venues, leading to severe economic disparity.
At Go! Running Tours, we follow several practices to counter over-tourism and make sightseeing better for both the visitors and residents. Here are some of those:
We conduct a large number of our running tours in the mornings when there is little congestion on the streets. It means that our guests can cover the main landmarks during the early hours and use the rest of the day to visit lesser-known neighbourhoods or go on days trips outside the city.
Smaller group sizes:
On average, our running tours have three guests. The small group size results in easy passage through sidewalks and crowded areas. Also, it doesn’t bother the usual functioning of a neighbourhood.
In a popular travel destination, it might be challenging to get a local taste of life. On the surface, everything seems to be created for the masses. Many of our running adventures take you to lesser-known neighbourhoods. Our local guides share insider insights and make sure you have truly authentic experiences. Through off-beat routes, we make sure both people and money are not concentrated in one part of the town.
Smaller cities on the map:
London, Paris, New York – they’re undoubtedly big, bold and beautiful. But several smaller destinations deserve as much recognition. We’re constantly looking to working with the locals in lesser popular areas to create unique running tours. For example, Matt takes you around the traditional Greek villages in Andros, Reena shows the green space and historical landmark of Indianapolis, and Juan Pablo guides you through the colonial architecture and volcano views of Antigua Guatemala.
When you plan your next trip, we hope we have inspired you to travel more thoughtfully and sustainably with a lesser impact on the local environment, culture, and people.