What is ecotourism?

Is there a way to travel and discover the world, while taking care of the environment?

The World Tourism Organization defines it as “tourism that takes into account current and future impacts on economic, social and environmental dimensions to meet the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and local communities.

In other words, so-called sustainable tourism or ecotourism is tourism that seeks to lessen the impact on the environment and local cultures, without neglecting the tourism movement and its benefits.

Today, this movement is increasingly popular, and involves branches such as hotels to tourism companies that sell experiences. On the other hand, social awareness and responsibility is growing worldwide and visitors are increasingly demanding it. That is why governments are trying to establish policies to encourage this type of tourism.

Below we will mention some destinations or countries that already offer their visitors sustainable alternatives.

Catalonia, Spain

UNESCO and the World Council for Sustainable Tourism (WSCT) are leading a plan that supports the relationship between humans and nature. Those regions, cities that comply with these requirements in terms of their tourism obtain the certification of responsible tourism of the biosphere. Catalonia is the first entire region to obtain it.
Here, companies are shown with an ecological label that is a UNESCO certificate, which indicates that their products, activities and services are environmentally friendly and of the highest quality.
As for highlighted activities is the Cardona Salt Mountain Cultural Park, an attraction that offers to experience the natural geology of the region. On the other hand, Figols-Vallcebre is another sustainable alternative where you can walk through the marks of dinosaurs in the coal mines. 

Bahamas

In the Bahamas there is a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach. Several places have begun to take steps to protect it. Through the government-led project, Nassau Sustainable seeks to integrate smart technology so that energy is used in public buildings, schools and lighting in a more conscious and sustainable way.
One example is the Tiamo Resort, where everything used is tested so that the risk of contamination is low, and they have solar panels to heat water. On the other hand, the hotel’s staff is conformed by Bahamians to support the local communities. 

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most recognized countries for its sustainability, which seeks to improve year after year by offering alternatives that take care of its great biodiversity. Being one of the most carbon-neutral countries, it has an electricity structure in which the majority comes from renewable resources. Its former president Luis Guillermo Solis was appointed special ambassador to the UN World Tourism Organization.
The Osa Peninsula has 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity.

Lake Garda, Italy

This lake has a rail connection from Milan, reducing the use of cars by its visitors and has a large number of ecological hotels.
One example is the Lefay Resort and Spa, a CO2-neutral hotel and more than half of the energy it uses is renewable.
Its roof is filled with vegetation to minimize eye pollution and encourage local flora and fauna.

Pangulasian Island, Philippines

This place has a high commitment to the local population, since through its economic initiative it seeks to teach local women the art of weaving, and its final products are sold in hotels.
On the other hand, they carry out clean-ups on the coast twice a month, promote turtle care, protect against illegal fishing and carry out ecological reefs and mooring buoys.

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar, Tanzania

This destination is a private nature reserve in which only 14 guests can stay at the same time. It stands out for its coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve. The cabins work with renewable energy, and the bathrooms are made of compost.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

This island offers different options that reduce carbon footprints.
One example is the Pikaia Lodge, a hotel made of steel, due to its great capacity for recycling. The doors and furniture are made of sustainable teak and the walls are made of stone and lava from areas approved by the Galapagos National Park Service.
Finally, it has its own reforestation project and a water program that allows it to collect rainwater.

Arosa, Switzerland

An innovative initiative is the one of the Hotel Valsana, which has an “ice battery” that is used to heat the hotel. This is an energy recovery system in which excess thermal energy is reused.
On the other hand, the town offers several recharging points for electric cars and some even free of charge.
All these places are examples of a tourism that is reinventing itself to take care of the planet and at the same time to continue appreciating its beauty.