30 Sustainable & Responsible Tourism Words You Should Know In 2023 header image

30 Sustainable & Responsible Tourism Words You Should Know In 2023

Karandeep Arora

Karandeep Arora

Current buzzwords in the sustainable tourism sector include sustainability-centric terminologies that promote zero-waste and a plastic-free environment. Considering sustainability is the only hope to combat natural degradation, an insight into its glossary can get you up to speed with developments in the space.

Tourism has been gravely exploited for revenue generation. Consequently, the disbalance in natural ecosystems became evident, and sustainable tourism became the sole remedy of interest.

What Is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism encompasses the dominant significance of culture, society, and economy. It gives equal importance to the environment, native communities, travellers, and the tourism industry.

This tourism type aims to increase profits with mindful tourism practices and reduce adversities by protecting and conserving wildlife and natural habitats.


Image Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Framework-for-Sustainable-Tourism-Source-wwwtourismlandscapeswordpresscom-5_fig2_268220101

Whilst we encourage these discussions, it can be challenging to grasp certain words. Thus, we're presenting a glossary for crucial jargon from sustainable tourism and related industries.

Sustainable Tourism Glossary

Explore the various aspects of eco-friendly tourism:

  1. Agrotourism: Farms and ranches specifically designed to receive guests amidst natural vegetation.
  2. Bio-cultural Diversity: A region's biological, cultural, social, and linguistic balance.
  3. Climate Justice: Links the effects of climate change to ethical and political issues such as inequality, a threat to human rights, etc.

Image Source: https://businesseconomics.in/growth-agricultural-tourism-india

  1. Contactless Guest Experience: Allows you to avoid touching points and the need for paper bills, menu cards, directories, etc.
  2. Ethical Animal Tourism:  Observing animals in their natural habitat without causing them harm or stress.
  3. Intersectional Environmentalism: Protection of marginalised and vulnerable communities and their environment.
  4. Overtourism: Crowding of tourists leads to high consumption of natural resources, increased forms of pollution, inflated pricing, etc.

Image Source: https://www.storey.com/article/beyond-sustainability-permaculture/

  1. Permaculture: Approach that believes in turning problems into solutions and focuses on water conservation.
  2. Rewilding: Letting nature take its course by introducing lost animal species increases biodiversity and lessens climate change.
  3. Zero Plastic Travel: Committing to staying plastic-free by investing in filter water bottles, reusable bags, and products made of sustainable materials 

Bonus Read: Discover how slow travellers can contribute to rural tourism and community development, irrespective of which part of the world you travel in.

Sustainability Glossary For Food

Below is a list of essential lexicons concerning healthy and responsible consumption:

  1. Cage-free: Animals and birds not raised and bred in a cage.
  2. Composting: Collecting organic waste products like food scraps, fruit rinds, egg shells, etc. and turn them into fertilisers.
  3. Farm to Fork: Locally produced fresh organic food products, sold regionally to curb energy expenditure.
  4. Food Bank: Organisations that collect excess food and serve them to underprivileged people.
  5. GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms are products rich in nutritional value and come from artificially manipulated gene-bearing plants and animals.
  6. Locavore: Someone who thrives on locally produced and regionally sold food.
  7. Nose-to-tail: Method of cooking, eating, and disposing of food without any waste.

Image Source- https://klinegroup.com/the-organic-fruits-and-vegetables-market-is-increasing-so-why-is-the-rate-of-growth-expected-to-slow/

  1. Organic: Food products without genetic manipulation, colouring, chemical fertilisers, preservatives etc.
  2. Sustainability: Ethically responsible practices which don’t squander natural resources beyond revival.
  3. Vegan: Someone who doesn't eat animal-based products.

Image Source- https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/vegan-diet-guide-benefits-risks-weight-loss-effect-food-list/

Sustainability Glossary For the Environment

Following are fundamental terms that will enhance your knowledge of sustainability in case of the environment:

  1. Biodegradable: Objects capable of decay.
  2. Biomass: Natural materials used for energy production. 
  3. Biophilia: Love for living things.
  4. Carbon Emissions: Harmful gases released in the air from automobiles.
  5. Carbon Footprint: Amount of carbon one produces through their daily life choices.

Image Source- https://ykcenter.org/hbr-reports-calculating-the-value-of-impact-investing/

  1. Carbon Offset: Financial investment at countering Carbon Footprint. 
  2. Circular Economy: Approach to eliminate waste through recycling.
  3. Climate Change: Lasting and effective change in temperature, wind, water levels, and land masses.
  4. Ecological Footprint: Measurement of the number of natural resources to support something.
  5. Freecycle: Exchange of goods to make them last longer.

Image Source- https://www.edisongroup.com/edison-explains/circular-economy-business-models/


A sustainable tourism glossary will ease the experience of a responsible traveller. Being liable for one’s action gains priority while you savour nature. A conscious traveller believes in leaving a positive impression on the socio-cultural, environmental and economic front. 

There are organisations that work in collaboration with indigenous tribes and native communities to provide quite an experience for tourists. As a result, sustainability comes along with employment generation and rural development, all amidst breathtaking scenery.  

Imagine trekking through the panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains and mighty deodars, which leads to a mystic village where you can nestle for the next few days. NotOnMap's collaborations with local communities in secluded and sparsely populated regions of India lets you live this experience.

Karandeep Arora

Karandeep Arora

Traveler | Copywriter


A copywriter by profession and an aspiring scriptwriter, Karandeep spent the better half of the last decade travelling to remote and far-off regions of India. He's been working on fighting the tide of mediocrity and settling for experiential travel adventures to improve his mindfulness of cultures and society as a whole.