Want to make your travel plans more eco-friendly but don’t know how to choose a sustainable tour? The climate and our impact on the environment are at the top of our collective worries these days. Although travel is an incredible tool for learning and discovery, if we can be a little more sustainable with our travel habits we can make a big difference! Are you wondering how to reduce your environmental footprint? Read on to find out more about sustainable tours and eco-travel destinations.
What is a sustainable tour?
Generally, a sustainable tour is a trip that takes into account the impact it has on the destination country. As well as concerns for the environment, issues such as the local economy and society should also be considered. To truly travel sustainably, one should try to make as little negative impact as possible. This might include partaking in local environmental initiatives, minimising carbon-heavy transport methods and being respectful of local traditions and cultures. Supporting small, local businesses, respecting local cultures and restoring eco-systems are other important factors of a sustainable tour.
Eco-travel destinations for a sustainable holiday
A paradise for wildlife lovers, Costa Rica takes a serious attitude towards sustainable tourism. In fact, protected nature reserves cover more than a third of the country. Famed for its verdant rainforests and idyllic Caribbean beaches, Costa Rica is incredibly biodiverse. Home to 6% of the world’s animal species, protecting the environment is key to ensuring the abundant wildlife of Costa Rica. The country is home to many eco-lodges and actually produces 93% of its electricity from renewable resources. By harnessing the popularity of its natural parks and reserves, Costa Rica is able to put resources into continuing its mission of sustainability.
The good news is, you can enjoy your luxurious getaway to the Maldives guilt-free. One of the most lost-lying countries in the world, the atolls and islands of the Maldives are very aware of the impending impact of climate change. Therefore, most of the major resorts in the country take steps to reduce their impact on the environment. Eco-tourism is taken very seriously, with many efforts to cut out single-use plastics which can wreak havoc to the Maldives’ magical underwater world. Some island resorts have their own recycling plants. Others back initiatives to help combat coral reef degradation. If you travel to the Maldives, do a little research on which resorts are taking active steps to protect the environment. This way you can enjoy paradise with a clear conscience!
Crowned the world’s most sustainable country, Slovenia is way ahead of the pack when it comes to sustainable tours and eco-travel. Take the capital, Ljubljana, for example, which is almost entirely pedestrianised. Furthermore, almost 60% of the country is covered in lush forests, making it an ideal place to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature. More than 40 protected parks and reserves are home to 20,000 animal and plant species and are connected by a vast network of walking trails. Slovenia supports sustainable tours by highlighting its lesser-known destinations. This helps to avoid over-tourism in its capital, a clever tactic to keep the authentic charms of this country intact.
Known for its sustainability, Finland has a low population density and an unspoilt natural environment. Dedicated to living in harmony with nature, Finland also takes this value serious when it comes to tourism. In fact, its incredible public transport network, recycling initiatives and culture of reusing over buying new all help to create a culture of sustainability here. So, if you travel to Finland, say yes to renting a bicycle and take the train rather than drive to make use of this eco-friendly infrastructure. Finnish design also shows great respect for the environment. Furthermore, another valuable way to experience Finland’s culture of sustainability is to each locally sourced food. Expect to enjoy delicious, seasonal Finnish dishes wherever you travel in the country.
Nestled high in the Himalayas, Bhutan is a beacon of sustainable tourism. In fact, it is the only carbon negative country in the world! Strictly regulating tourism is the key to Bhutan’s eco-friendliness. Visitors are only permitted to visit as part of a sustainable tour package. These packages include accommodation, tours and food. Although it might be a little pricey to travel to this Buddhist Kingdom, the results of this sustainable ethos are clearly visible. The country is incredibly clean, the locals are said to be amongst the happiest people on the planet and the landscapes are jaw-dropping in their beauty.
One of the first countries to sign up for the ‘Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency’ initiative, Scotland is dedicated to reducing carbon emissions. In fact, many of its highland islands and remote communities are already leading the way by harnessing natural energy resources. The Isle of Eigg, for example, has been off-grid since 2008! If you travel to Scotland, look out for accommodations that have the ‘Green Tourism’ certification. This way you’ll know that you are part of the wider movement to protect the environment and preserve Scotland’s incredible landscapes.
Tips for eco-travel
Keep the following eco-travel tips in mind on your next sustainable tour:
- Use public transport or walk where possible
- Eat at local restaurants instead of opting for international chains
- Unplug your home electronics before you leave
- Take a refillable bottle with you
- Drink ‘near beer’ instead of imported brands
- Choose non-stop flights where possible
So, now you know a little more about how to choose a sustainable tour; where will you travel next? Showing the utmost respect and admiration for other cultures and the environment is part of our mission. Visit our official website for more details: Exoticca – your online travel agent.