As we all ring in the new Summer season this week, we also know that means summer vacation planning is in full effect. In the spirit of our #naturallyimperfect campaign and as we all move towards embracing a more organic and sustainable lifestyle, we thought it would be great to highlight the ways in which we can also be applying this positive mindfulness when making travel or vacation plans as well. Green is the new black, and minimizing your environmental impact on your journey and at your destination doesn’t mean minimizing fun levels. You can make a difference at all corners of the world!
What is Ecotourism?
Plainly speaking is has been defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of local residents and involves interpretation and education. It also ensures that communities in the travel destinations receive a fair share of revenue from the tourism trade.
An Ecotourism trip should:
– Educate visitors about conservation of natural areas and wildlife
– Minimize air and water pollution where possible
– Engage in educational visitor experiences
– Promote Social Empowerment
– Embrace environmental responsibility to preserve ecosystems
– Respect cultural traditions of destination
– Maximize opportunity for local prosperity
If the thought of creating a vacation that checks off every aspect of Eco-tourism seems a bit scary or overwhelming, no need to worry! Embracing any element under its umbrella while planning is a great way to start; whether it be focusing on one or any combination of the points mentioned above. Below are examples of other eco-positive focused tourism and examples of the type of trip they would entail:
Sustainable Tourism Trip: does not deplete resources and allows for a smaller number of tourists to experience nature
Example: Planning a rafting trip on free flowing water
Responsible Tourism Trip: minimizes the environmental degradation of the host destination
Example: Planning a camping trip in the wilderness
Green Tourism Trip: any activity or facility that operates in an environmentally friendly way
Example: Planning your stay at a rainforest lodge with solar powered lighting
Here are other examples of ways you can reduce your carbon footprint both while planning your travels and also while you’re there enjoying them:
– Staying at a resort that farms their own food
– Visiting a family run camp that cares for retired elephants in Asia
– Choosing a local tour guide to explore the natural resources and culture
– Opting for walking tours/bike tours
– Renting a bike to explore rather than by car
– Hop on the local bus or shuttles
– Buy local- Seek out indigenous artisans and learn about their craft.
– Stick to marked trails to avoid harming native flora
– Take a bag on walking tours to pick up trash along your journey
– REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE- Take a BPA-free water bottle you can refill, use just one bar of soap for both sink and shower, return brochures and maps once you’re finished using them, and hold on to your trash until you find a place to recycle it.
And there you have it! These are only just a few of endless vacation choices that can be made for yourself and your family when it comes to reducing environmental damage and empowering local communities. Take time to immerse yourself in the local music, art and cuisine. Ask questions about local food and shopping options. Embrace the cultural differences that make it unique. Get to know the locals and how they view life. And most importantly, have fun! Take an extra amount of pleasure knowing that when it comes to having fun and being eco-friendly, it is possible in this case to have your cake and eat it too.
Stay tuned for next week’s featured destination with our sandal selects!