Empire Excursions and Productions: Combatting Overtourism By Sustainable Practices

Overtourism, a time period that has change into an integral a part of the worldwide discourse up to now years, has proven the staggering results of unchecked tourism on locations worldwide. 

In accordance with a World Tourism Group (UNWTO) report, worldwide vacationer arrivals skyrocketed to 1.5 billion in 2019, placing a pressure on beloved landmarks and fragile ecosystems as native cultures attain a tipping level. Including to the urgency, stories have pinpointed the tourism business because the supply of roughly 8% of worldwide CO2 emissions. 

As nations and cultures crack beneath this weight, the shift towards sustainable journey has change into crucial.

Steven Garcia, the founding father of Empire Excursions and Productions, has lengthy been conscious of the risks overtourism poses.

Steven’s method to the business is fueled by a novel ardour: to discover a option to let individuals discover the world with out leaving it worse off. His firm, which operates in a number of cities from Chicago and Charleston to New York, has set itself aside not only for its charming tour experiences but in addition for its uncompromising dedication to balancing tourism with conservation.

“After we speak about sustainable tourism, we’re speaking about extra than simply the setting. It’s about sustaining cultures, economies, and traditions,” he shares. “As professionals within the sector, we should be certain that all of the world’s wonders are right here to remain for the generations to come back.”

The spine of Garcia’s method to sustainable tourism is the emphasis on strolling excursions. Whereas, at first look, strolling excursions may seem as simply one other journey choice, within the context of sustainability, they bear immeasurable potential. Not solely can they scale back the carbon footprint by steering away from transportation-dependent excursions, however in addition they provide vacationers a slower, extra intimate connection to their vacation spot.

The slower tempo additionally naturally reduces congestion in widespread spots, and with fewer autos, a discount in air pollution is a pure consequence. Actually, by working strolling excursions as an alternative of bus excursions, Empire Excursions alone has eradicated over 5,000 hours of bus carbon emissions a 12 months.

“Journey has all the time been about connection. We should join deeply with the locations we go to, guaranteeing that our footprints are each mild and optimistic,” Steven Garcia says.

However Garcia’s mission reaches past the setting. He highlights that overtourism doesn’t simply erode seashores or crowd the streets. It threatens native economies and cultures. Overwhelmed by a sea of vacationers, locations typically see their cultural essence diminished as customs and traditions get overshadowed by commercialized experiences.

Garcia seeks to alter this as his dream is to see individuals not merely visiting a spot however actually understanding its soul.

The huge vary of strolling excursions that Garcia’s firm presents definitely displays the sentiment. From meals excursions in Chicago, New York, and Charleston that take guests on a scrumptious journey of savoring native flavors to the extra thrilling and mysterious Ghosts and Gangsters Excursions in Chicago and New York, the place people stroll within the footsteps of legendary and (in)well-known historic figures, Empire Excursions and Productions presents individuals an intimate view of every metropolis’s spirit whereas guaranteeing the native landmarks, in addition to the individuals, will neither be broken nor disturbed.

Concerning his efforts to protect native communities, Steven Garcia has additionally actively been hiring native guides and employees to make sure that tourism straight advantages the individuals who name the locations house. As he explains, “This not solely brings a way of authenticity to the journey experiences however, this fashion, income can flow into throughout the group. It’s a win-win scenario for each the locals and the individuals having fun with the sights.”

As spectacular as Garcia’s efforts are, their true energy hides in his deal with schooling. Reasonably than stopping at experiences, he all the time endeavors to interact and enlighten his shoppers by giving them an academic journey that fosters deep connections with the locations visited.

By actually understanding the importance of the landmarks, alleys, and small native eating places they see, individuals can forge an unbreakable bond, which Garcia believes can promote accountable conduct.

“Actual transformation comes when vacationers shift from being spectators to changing into considerate members on the earth they discover,” he states.

Whereas it’s not unusual to search out enterprises that prioritize earnings over sustainability, Garcia and Empire Excursions and Productions have set a better customary within the tourism business. By their instance, it’s evident that it’s attainable to discover the world with out inflicting hurt – a mannequin that each one companies would do properly to observe.

As Garcia says, “Journey must be about connection – with the setting, with tradition, and with one another. Revenue ought to all the time be secondary.”