I think we all agree that buying local is always better, right? Nevertheless, I want to share with you some of the reasons you should by local, so you can better understand the positive impact it can have on the destination, but also on your personal experience.
First, I would like to clarify what “buy locally” mean, by giving you some concepts:
Locally-owned: This means the business is owned by someone from the community or local area.
Small business: It has few employees and a lot of the times is a family business. The definition of small business varies from country to country, but in Portugal small companies are the ones with no more than 50 employees and under 10 million euros of annual turnover.
Locally-sourced products: It is when the business you’re buying from gets its products or materials from other businesses (like farms) within the same region.
Four Reasons to buy locally:
1. You get a more authentic experience and it helps you understand more about the local culture
The contact with local businesses will make you experience the place in a completely different way. Whether you’re shopping, taking a tour, or eating at a restaurant, you get a more authentic experience. The small local businesses often have more personalized services, because owners are members of the community themselves, their business is more than just a place to get great products. Like that you will not be treated as “just one more customer”, but you will probably get a warm welcome and a proud explanation about the products.
2. It supports the local economy
Buying locally not only gives people fare job opportunities, but it also encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. If there is demand, other small businesses will start to appear. Also, the money you spend will remain on the region (helping the money flow locally) instead of going to big companies, that most of the times do not even have the headquarters in the country.
3. It helps to maintain the identity of a place
Every town has icons like the “coffee shop open since 1990”, the “homemade ice-cream” shop, etc. These businesses are part of the identity of a place. By spending your money locally, you are contributing for the existence of these characteristic places.
4. It’s better for the environment
Most often, local vendors buy from their local farmer or friend, or even grow the food themselves. So, if you buy locally made products, rather than those that have been imported, you are reducing your carbon footprint (there are no shipping cost and emissions).
But there are products to avoid:
Sometimes local markets have on sale some articles that you must not buy! Most countries already have laws about this kind of products, but there are still places (particularly on less developed countries, but not only) that sell animal products, like animal parts and corals. Avoid these as you will be supporting poachers, traffic and endangering rare species.
“Always try and support local producers, makers and artisans. This way, you are giving back to the community that is supporting you on your travels, you will meet fascinating people and have more interesting stories to tell.” By Kate Duthie
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Thank you for reading!