Sustainability is becoming a highly influential concept in the modern age, and one that continues to impact on a wide and increasingly diverse selection of areas. From corporate social responsibility in the world of business and commerce to retail fashion and packaging, there’s an increased focus on sustainability and reducing the world’s cumulative carbon footprint in a number of variable ways. This rule applies in the field of travel and tourism too, with ecotourism now representing huge business throughout the world. But what is ecotourism, and what are the best relevant destinations for travellers to consider?
What is Ecotourism?
Let’s start with the basics; with ecotourism being defined as booking responsible travel arrangements and flights to natural areas that aim to conserve the surrounding environment and sustain the wellbeing of local residents. One of the core principles of ecotourism is the goal of minimising physical and social impacts on natural environments and ecosystems. This may require travellers and locals to alter their behaviour and psychology, particularly in terms of consumption and waste.
Ecotourism also aims to build environment and cultural awareness with a keen sense of respect, whether you embark on immersive walking tours or visiting a so-called “wellness retreat” in Costa Rica. This extends to all visitors, particularly in terms of energy usage and their core holiday activities.
OK, But What are the Best Destinations for Ecotourism?
Now that you have a greater understanding and appreciation of ecotourism, the question that remains is what are the best destinations for this type of travel? Here are some options to keep in mind:
#1 Costa Rica
Costa Rica remains a sure-fire favourite among eco tourists, thanks to its sustainable hospitality sector that’s home to hundreds of wellness retreats and independent eco lodges. The nation also provides several ecotourism activities, from volcano trekking to jungle zip-lining, which blend seamlessly with local ecosystems and a biodiversity flora and fauna.
Norway’s ecotourism credentials are ingrained in the nation’s progressive and socialist policies, which have helped to regulate grey industries such as oil and fishing and establish the nation as one of just four pilot destinations on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. With its pristine fjords and snow-topped mountains, Norway is also a country that’s renowned for outdoor living and activities, and it remains a must-see location for eco tourists from across the globe.
Similar to Norway in many ways, Iceland provides a great example of ecotourism in Northern Europe and remains the cleanest energy consumer in the whole world (it takes 75% of its energy from renewable sources). Iceland is also a global leader in progressive environmental policies, having learned from the Viking era during which deforestation and soil erosion stripped up to 90% of the country’s virgin land. Nowadays, Iceland is taking clear and decisive steps to protect its ecosystems and native ecology, making it a standout destination for committed eco tourists.