Welcome to this guide on some of the top sustainable travel destinations and places to visit to enjoy the environment.
Sustainable travel is now more than ever an incredibly important aspect of tourism and we are seeing more people wanting to be responsible tourists.
We as travel-addicts need to limit the amount of damage we may be directly or indirectly creating just by moving from place to place.
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Sustainable Travel Destinations
It is our responsibility as tourists to acknowledge how certain areas of travel are damaging to the environment, economy and heritage of destinations we travel to.
To support our amazing list of sustainable travel tips, we’ve compiled a list of the top destinations for sustainable travel across the globe to enable us to be more responsible tourists.
For the most part, sustainable travel attempts to be carbon neutral, but can also encompass local businesses and culture.
For more information on what Sustainable Travel entails, we invite you to visit our page what is sustainable travel? to get a deeper understanding of why the planet loves it when you travel in a more sustainable way.
What Makes a Destination Sustainable?
Sustainable destinations may be already inherently sustainable, but others have chosen a path to carbon neutrality by way of restructuring.
There are locations in which there were until recently hardly any visitors at all!
But with increasing tourism numbers have turned to sustainability in order to keep profit margins increasing without cutting corners or damaging ecosystems.
If we are to increase visitors we must become responsible tourists to this area.
One way to look at how sustainable travel can affect your tourist habits is how it compares to your home life.
There are many locations such as Chumbe Island in Tanzania that offer freshwater, solar-powered renewable energy, and locally sourced food.
Not only is this benefitting the area’s local economy in a somewhat impoverished nation, but visitors don’t leave a carbon footprint whilst staying. This is a good sustainable tourism example.
Staying in a sustainable travel destination acts as the opposite of standard travel destinations.
The longer you stay, the more sustainable your stay is.
This is due to the stay itself being sustainable, as well as the transport to and from the destination being spread out.
When it comes to eco-lodges or carbon-neutral tour operators, the magic of sustainability is within your grasp.
However, this doesn’t come without the traveler taking on the responsibility of keeping the trip sustainable themselves.
Tourists can maintain sustainability by keeping packing to a minimum and not wasting items such as plastics or non-compostables.
See these plastic free toiletries for more ideas on how you can pack in a more sustainable way.
There are whole nations out there that are dedicated to maintaining their way of life. The only means by which they can do so is by staying sustainable.
Whether it’s with renewable energy, reducing plastic or reducing the number of fossil fuels used. These are great places to visit to enjoy the environment and become the example of responsible tourism definition.
There are hundreds of ways in which these destinations keep their sustainability, and some will even ask for incoming visitors to sign agreements stating allegiance to keeping sustainable.
Popular Sustainable Travel Destinations
Let us now look at this shortlist of sustainable travel destinations you can add to your bucket-list:
Gozo has many different options for sustainable accommodation. The most popular definitely being the farmhouses in the rural areas.
These are basically villas that are purposefully refitted with renewable energy sources.
The island is small but the people are very conscious of the amount of tourism that it brings too. That’s why Maltese hotels have Eco certification, so you know they’re as sustainable as possible.
Chumbe Island in the Indian Ocean has been fishing-free since 1992, creating a unique ecosystem. Eco-lodges such as the bungalows have solar-powered water heaters for showers and incredible airflow systems.
The trips up Kilimanjaro have become more sustainable than ever, with options to stay in eco-lodges and tree planting initiatives.
The local councils and organizations have helped shorten climbing group sizes and set up litter picking groups around popular spots.
This is a great place to visit to enjoy the environment and all the mountain has to offer whilst being a responsible traveller.
Due to the Vision 2025 plan embarked upon by the governments of Ljubljana and Lake Bled, since 2007 Slovenia has been a world leader in sustainability.
Green Destinations named Ljubljana as the top green city in Europe, with many people who visit the great city staying in Eco-friendly hotels and accommodation.
This often-overlooked South American nation has won awards as recently as 2019 for its sustainability within the travel and tourism sector. A great sustainable tourism example for others.
Not only is Guyana seeking to maintain sustainability within the Amazon rainforest, but it’s also seeking to sustainably include indigenous communities in their call for heritage sustainability.
Palau has had many firsts and records broken when it comes to tourism.
Not only have they taken many necessary steps to create more tourism and generate income, but they also have made a valiant effort at ensuring that all tourism is sustainable.
Upon arrival at customs, all foreign travelers and tourists are required to sign a pledge that’s stamped into passports.
“It is our responsibility to show our guests how to respect our island home, just as it is their duty to uphold the signed pledge when visiting,” says Palau president Tommy Remengesau.
This protecting the area and also generating responsible tourism.
The sustainability of the rural regions of Ecuador are numerable, but nonesuch like the Galapagos.
The Galapagos Archipelago is probably one of the most sustainably maintained instances of nature reserves on the planet.
Touring companies such as Ecuador Travel are dedicated to sustainable travel, making it a great company to book tours with.
When it comes to sustainability, Portugal as a nation does have adverse instances of not maintaining it.
However, whether it’s surprising or not, Portugal won the ITB award in 2019 for the most sustainable location in Europe.
Whether you’re hiking through the Peneda-Gerês, taking boats out on the shores of the Azores, or visiting stunning villages in the countryside such as Ponte de Lima it has to be a great place to visit to enjoy the environment. Even compare Lisbon vs Porto for city travel inspiration.
Bhutan is one of the most fascinating countries in Asia. With its strategic position situated between India and China, it has been cut off from the world since the 1970s when they allowed tourism.
Since then, the majority Buddhist nation has not only claimed to be carbon neutral (with a nationwide ban of smoking), but claims to be carbon negative.
Visit Punakha, climb mountains, cross rivers and respect nature.
Costa Rica has plenty of wildlife on offer for tourist to explore. Not only are the hummingbirds affectionate when reserved from poachers, but so are all the other walks of life on land or in the sea.
Costa Rica boasts plentiful biodiversity, unlike many countries around the world.
It’s for this reason that rural tourism, national parks, and wildlife refuges are the only viable options for tourists when they arrive here.
Go localized, buy from local food stalls and restaurants. You’ll have to, there’s no other choice.
Ever since the 2010 eruption of the immense Eyjafjallajökull, the eyes of the world have been fixated on Iceland, a small island nation whose stark and mystic beauty had long been a well-kept secret. Until now.
You would think that a world-renowned capital city such as Reykjavik would have the unfortunate fossil fuels that most European countries do. Nope!
Over 99% of electricity production and almost 80% of total energy production in Iceland comes from hydropower and geothermal power making all buildings in the city eco-friendly.
Sustainable Travel Destinations
Whether you’re looking to find a cultural visit or a relaxing getaway to enjoy the environment, the number of sustainable destinations is increasing exponentially.
More and more travelers are becoming environmentally conscious and are looking for the right facilities in their destination of choice and responsible travel.
With a little bit of research, digging and a bit of luck, you can find the perfect sustainable tourism examples and a great holiday for you.
It may be difficult to create the most sustainable holiday, it will soon become extremely easy.
Countries such as Palau have set the ball rolling with their government’s legislative role in creating more sustainable holidays for visitors.
Happy sustainable travels and remember to see our Sustainable travel tips for more practical ideas!
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