With the upcoming winter holidays a lot of us decide to leave the cold East Coast and head out to warmer climates. If you’re still undecided on where to go this winter or just want some ideas on how to travel sustainably and how to engage in eco-friendly tourism here are some helpful tips.
First off, it’s important to make sure that the hotel you will be checking in to for your week of relaxation is “green,” and that adheres to sustainable practices that encompass environmental awareness. Also, make sure it is ethically conscious as far as staff goes-this means fair wages, fair hours, and fair treatment. A simple way to do this is to look on their website for keywords, such as a tab that says “sustainability” and see how they handle their environmental impact, if they employ local people and if they support local community development in any way.
Another important factor to take into account is the impact that we will leave while we are guests in another country. I strongly recommend leaving the comforts of the hotel to explore the reality of the place we are visiting-take buses and use public transportation whenever possible. Hotels often provide this service, so find out if yours does before you book your room.
If you’re still trying to decide where to go, Colombia has been making great strides towards shifting their tourism strategies towards markets that demand eco-friendly practices in regards to accommodations. They have started a campaign called “Colombia is Magical Realism” to increase tourism, advertising the implementation of programs for saving water, electricity and initiatives related to social responsibility in hotels.
If you’re looking to explore natural habitats without disturbing them instead of the “relaxing beach experience” Spain might be the way to go for you. With webpages dedicated to explain the hows of visiting natural spaces in an original way with respect to the environment, it offers numerous options such as: Sierra Nevada, Somiedo, Delta de l’Ebre, Garajonay Forest, and many more. In these areas companies offer tourist activities based on protecting the environment.
We hope these tips have shed some light on something that sometimes seems completely at odds: Environment and Tourism. With all the flying and unethical stories about hotels out there, putting these two hand in hand seems impossible. The good news is that as our world becomes more and more environmentally conscious the demand for real “ecotourism” increases, let’s keep on making strides this winter!
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons (3)