Ecofriendly travel can be a great way to increase your understanding of local cultures as well as help protect the environment. Achieving this is not always easy, however, and there are many things you should consider before deciding on your next vacation spot. The following guide will walk you through everything needed to plan an eco-friendly trip.
Not all green travel is equal
If you’re looking to travel in an eco-friendly way, it’s important to understand what that means.
Green travel can mean different things for different people, but generally, it refers to traveling in an environmentally conscious and sustainable way. This often involves using environmentally friendly practices during the trip itself for example, choosing accommodation that has been built without damaging the surrounding environment or water resources (e.g., no plastic bottles). But there are also other ways that green travels can be “greened”: for example, by booking tours with companies that have a reputation for being sustainable and ethical in their operations; or by staying at hotels run by local communities who benefit from increased tourism income; or by visiting destinations which are located close enough together so as not to require long journeys between them (this reduces pollution caused by transportation).
So how do these ideas apply specifically? Well.
- Eco-tourism is about being more involved with your trip, not just traveling more sustainably.
- If you are concerned about the impact of your travel on the environment and want to do something positive for it, eco-tourism is a good option.
- Eco-tourism can be a great way to travel if you want to reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying yourself.
Tourists are needed for some local Economies
The truth is, you can be green by staying home (and so can I), but tourists are needed for some local economies.
A study conducted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization found that 1% of GDP in a country is generated by tourism. If 1% of GDP was lost as a result of eco-friendly travel, would it make that much of a difference?
Tourists also bring money to local communities, which helps them develop and prosper. Some destinations even have volunteer opportunities available through organizations such as WWOOF or Hands on Mexico volunteers pay their way while they work on farms or help out with projects like beach cleanups and construction projects!
Finally, if you’re going somewhere new and interesting under the guise of environmental consciousness then why not buy some souvenirs from locals instead? Buying locally produced goods enables them to invest more capital into their economies rather than relying on imports from abroad.
Give and take between the host Communities and the Tourists
The best eco-tourism trips have some give and take between the host communities and the tourists. The best way to ensure that you’re enjoying a sustainable vacation is to ask questions and become more familiar with your host culture. Here are some questions you should ask:
- What does this community do for the economy?
- How does this community interact with its environment?
- Who runs things here, who are the leaders?
- What’s their relationship with outsiders or visitors like me?
- Do they benefit from tourism in general, or just certain types of tourism like eco-tourism specifically?
Another thing to consider is food because it’s such an important part of any culture’s identity; if you don’t eat local food while traveling abroad then it could feel culturally insensitive (unless you’re vegan).
Off the beaten path benefits both Tourists and hosts
Choosing a destination that’s off the beaten path benefits both tourists and hosts. If you’re seeking a vacation that is environmentally and socially responsible, consider visiting somewhere less frequented by tourists. In choosing an off-the-beaten-path destination, you’ll cut down on your carbon footprint by traveling in an underdeveloped region, while also contributing to local communities through the purchase of locally produced goods like artisanal crafts and agricultural products.
You could also choose to visit a country or region known for its ecological sustainability, such as Costa Rica or New Zealand. These countries have been recognized by organizations like The United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their efforts to preserve natural habitats and maintain sustainable tourism practices
Do your research before you book a trip?
As soon as you hear about a new place that you want to visit, do your research. The tourism board has all kinds of data on the country and its cities, but the travel website where you booked your tickets will also have information about the tour operator for your trip. Check out their reviews online before booking with them. There are many travel forums like TripAdvisor where people post reviews on their experiences with different tour operators. If you are from an eco-conscious community or group, see if there is anyone who has already taken similar trips and ask them what they thought of it (or join in!).
Finding good eco-tourism Trips is a Challenge
Finding good eco-tourism trips can be challenging. Travelers are often overwhelmed by the number of organizations out there with claims that they commit to sustainability, but it’s more important to find an organization with a specific commitment to one of these areas:
- The local community.
- The environment.
There’s no Consensus Definition of eco-tourism due to Tourism industry Politics
The definition of eco-tourism is still being debated because it’s a political issue. There’s no consensus from either environmentalists or tourism industry professionals about what constitutes eco-tourism. The debate centers on how to define the term “ecological” and whether tourism can be done in an environmentally respectful way. Some people feel that if you’re going to travel somewhere, you should have some sort of positive impact that visiting other countries with the intent to do something good for the planet is important in its own right (and not simply as a means to an end).
Sometimes, eco-tourism Trips may do more harm than good
Some people may think that, since you’re a traveler, you should be respectful of the local culture and environment. But it’s not always that simple. The truth is that sometimes, eco-tourism trips may do more harm than good.
It’s important to be aware of this as you plan your next vacation or vacation planning process!
Find a Trip that matches your values and goals
A great way to do this is by choosing a destination that matches your values and goals. To start, you should be aware of some key factors when selecting a travel destination:
- The destination should match your values. For example, if you’re looking for a place where clean water is abundant, consider visiting an area in Costa Rica where rainforests cover the land and rivers run through it. Choosing a location like this will allow you to enjoy nature while also knowing that the water is safe to drink.
- The destination should match your goals as well. If you’re interested in seeing as many animals as possible and learning more about them while also doing volunteer work at an animal sanctuary (or sanctuary-like facility), then plan on traveling somewhere like Costa Rica or South Africa where animals are plentiful and there are plenty of places within easy driving distance from each other for volunteering opportunities!
Eco-tourism is a great way to travel, but it’s not the only way. It’s important to do your research before you book any trip. You can find eco-friendly vacations that are off the beaten path and away from tourist attractions, or choose destinations based on their values and goals instead of just being green by going home instead of traveling abroad.