The last year has been marked by increased awareness of the environment and the dangers of the climate crisis. Finally, the messages regarding the harmful effects of human activity and industry have gone beyond interested parties and into the mainstream. In just a couple of years, we have witnessed the biggest increase in environmental awareness in history.
This, of course, coincided with the increased popularity and interest for sustainable tourism. When it comes to the environment, tourism is one of the most harmful industries. It has several negative impacts:
- over-use of water
- greenhouse gas emissions
- dangerous harm to natural habitats
Sustainable tourism (or eco-tourism) is a viable alternative that tackles all of these issues. If you’re interested in travelling sustainably, here are some of the top recommendations:
New Zealand is definitely one of the most well-known and popular sustainable tourism destinations in the world. The island is host to some of the most magnificent natural attractions in the world, which you can enjoy in an eco-friendly way. There are plenty of tours through the island’s natural gems and you can also try whale watching or kayaking.
This is one of the pioneering countries of sustainable tourism. Whether you want to explore rain forests on a zip line several hundreds of meters above ground or meet huge turtles, Costa Rica really has it all.
The wildlife in Costa Rica is very rich – the perfect illustration for this is that the country hosts 52 different species of hummingbirds alone. And don’t forget those adorable little sloths!
According to the results of recent studies that measured the international happiness index, Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world.
When you think of Africa, you probably picture deserts, vast plains of wilderness, dangerous animals and exotic landscapes. Africa is all that, but also much more. In South Africa, you will have the chance to meet tribes that will destroy all your stereotypes and misconceptions. After stepping into their nature-friendly worlds, you will realize the true meaning of freedom and being one with your environment.
The safari is a special treat when it comes to sustainable tourism activities. There’s no better place to start that adventure than South Africa, which is the third-ranked country in the world for the highest rate of biodiversity.
Finland is somewhat overrated as a sustainable tourism destination, but the reality is that Scandinavian countries are so eco-friendly and environmentally aware that all tourism is basically ecotourism. Respect towards nature and care for the environment is engrained into the consciousness of every Finnish person. Visit one of the country’s majestic national parks or islands around Helsinki to experience true Scandinavian magic!
The Galapagos Islands have acquired somewhat of a mystical vibe due to the unbelievable natural beauty they boast. For many travellers around the world, Galapagos is the ultimate destination on their bucket list and the best eco-tourism destination. The only problem is that it’s very remote, so you’ll need to make intricate plans to actually get there. But once you get there, that same remoteness will be portrayed in the miracles of these islands – the untouched nature, myriad of animal and plant species, and oneness with Earth.
Jordan is a beautiful country that features some of the most majestic sights in the world – the Dead Sea, Roman ruins and Petra – but if you want to get off the beaten path and experience the country in a more sustainable way, the desert is a perfect choice. Desert destinations in Jordan have prepared special packages for eco-travellers: you can enjoy resorts that are fully self-sustainable or learn more about the country’s biosphere on educational walks.
Just like Galapagos, but much more accessible if you’re from Europe, there’s Iceland – a magical island that is truly like nothing you have ever seen before. From volcanoes, lava fields, glaciers and geysers to lagoons and incredible scenery all year round, this majestic island has something amazing to offer even to the most demanding of visitors. Another great thing about the island is that, during the summer months, it gets sunlight almost during the entire day, so you can see more and explore whenever you want!
We know – there are so many places to go and see, but so little time! If you’re looking for sustainable tourism options, your choices really are much more versatile than just a couple of decades ago. Research some of the destinations that we have featured above and enjoy an eco-friendly vacation!
Angela Baker is a professional writer and content creator at TrustMyPaper and GrabMyEssay . She specializes in academic writing and works as a partner contributor at Studicus . She’s also passionate about travelling and getting to know different cultures around the world.