One of the best ways you can minimize the negative environmental impact of travel is selecting the right eco lodge, or green accommodation. Be sure to ask the hotel what types of green initiatives they have in place. An important, though often overlooked aspect of ecotourism, is the impact on the local economy and communities. Select locally owned hotels and lodges that demonstrate a commitment to supporting their local community and environment. For example, Matava eco resort, located in Fiji is a great sustainable travel option. In addition to conservation awareness and waste management initiatives, the resort provides employment opportunities for the local people, helps fund local organizations and communities around Matava, and provides guests the opportunity to interact with the locals to learn about their unique culture.
2. Public Transportation
When selecting your next travel destination consider the city layout and the ability to utilize the public transportation system for sight seeing. Choose a city with a good public transportation system so you can avoid renting a car or taking cabs, which will also save you money. Public transportation is a great way to explore the city in depth, while reducing your impact on the environment. Walking and biking are an even better way to discover your chosen destination.
3. Eco Tours
When planning your trip excursions, aim to select a tour that is eco friendly. It is not only important to select a green hotel but also to ensure that the multi day excursions, or day trips, you take decrease the negative impact on the environment and leave a positive impact on the local communities. For example, when planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands select a small ship option that focuses on preserving the area. Many Galapagos tours help support the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund, which focuses on environmental education and marine conservation by strengthening the local communities’ ability to mange the island’s natural resources.
4. Green Recreational Activities
Select a destination with great weather and plenty of outside activities. Enjoy the outdoors on your vacation, and the added bonus is that you will reduce the amount of energy used by indoor facilities. You may want to think about selecting a destination that has great parks, lakes, or hiking trails. Green recreational activities will help you truly experience all that the city has to offer, as opposed to participating in an indoor activity.
5. Local Businesses
One of the best ways to help facilitate sustainable travel efforts is to make use of local businesses. When researching your next vacation destination, be aware of the number of local businesses in town. Visiting local stores and restaurants not only help support the local economy, but also help immerse you in the local culture. Experience new things, and learn more about your host country by staying at a locally run hotel, eating local, and purchasing local products.
Maintaining pristine destinations and cultures is the foundation of sustainable travel. Unfortunately, tourism growth sometimes does more harm than good in certain destinations, leading to loss of wildlife habitat, population pressure and the construction of tourism facilities, degradation of the environment and water due to improper waste management, and loss of cultural identify. By taking a few simple steps, such as those listed above, you can help decrease the inevitable negative effects of travel on the environment and leave a positive impact on the communities you visit.
Global Basecamps is a specialty travel company that helps independent travelers research and book locally owned boutique hotels, off-the-beaten path lodges and multi-day excursions all over the world. Global Basecamps uses proceeds from each trip to make contributions to global community outreach and development programs.