Many of us want to go out into the big world and explore it for ourselves. While there is nothing wrong with doing this, overtourism of areas can harm the environment and communities affected. Areas of natural beauty are being overrun with litter and tourists, but some travel destinations are trying to fix that problem. These sustainable travel destinations are perfect for people who want to visit somewhere and not negatively impact on that place.
Veere – Netherlands
The city of Veere in the Netherlands attracts lots of tourists because it’s one of the most relaxing destinations in Europe. You can spot lots of wild animals in the area, including flamingos, seals, white-tailed eagles, and even porpoises. Beaches are long and the waters are crystal clear, which makes it perfect for people who love diving.
Tourists and citizens are encouraged to walk or cycle almost everywhere. Despite the tranquil setting, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes nearby. A focus on sustaining wildlife in Veere has been a priority for many years, while tidal energy is vital to the city. Locks were created to increase the quality of saltwater to help the flora and fauna to flourish.
Chumbe Island – Tanzania
Chumbe Island is considered to be one of the top sustainable travel destinations in all of Africa, and the island’s approach to conservation is pretty impressive. The island is a private nature reserve with the goal of restoring and maintaining the coral reefs and marine life in the region.
Tourists can enjoy amazing views when diving, while also getting some much-needed rest and recuperation on the island’s idyllic beaches. The reserve not only has its coral reef sanctuary, but also a forest reserve that allows life on land to flourish. Buildings on Chumbe Island have been designed to have zero impact on the environment, helping it be a sustainable travel hotspot.
Bardia National Park – Nepal
Bardia National Park in Nepal is proof that there is hope for the human race after all. This sustainable tourism hotspot is not only doing everything in its power to save local wildlife like tigers and rhinoceros, but also people who live in the region. The national park is a huge sanctuary for endangered wildlife, and it has helped grow its population of tigers over the years.
There are over 50 species of mammals living in the park, along with 400 species of bird. People who live nearby are also seeing the benefits of the park as it provides livelihoods for many poor communities. Local products and services are used in the park, while local people are trained in sustainable tourism.
Kahuzi Biega National Park – DR Congo
The Kahuzi Biega National Park was created in the 1970s and covers both the lowland and mountainous regions of DR Congo. The star of the national park is the eastern lowland gorilla, which is the main draw for many tourists to the region.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is the largest refuge for the eastern lowland gorilla in the world, and the main concern of park runners is conserving the habitat, vegetation, and wildlife. People are encouraged to visit the park, where they will learn about the natural benefits of the park while their money supports the running costs.
San Francisco – USA
You might not think a United States city could be considered sustainable, but San Francisco is way ahead of the curve. It was one of the first cities to ban single-use plastic bags as far back as 2007. There are plenty of sustainable travel destinations in the USA, but San Fran ranks right up there as one of the best.
The city had the United States’ first large-scale composting program from urban food waste, a process that helped the city reduce its carbon emissions by 12 percent. San Francisco is working towards being a waste-free city and encourages people to travel by tram rather than using personal cars.
The entire country of Guyana in South America is a sustainable traveller’s paradise. Many of the tourism initiatives are aimed at getting local people to become as involved in the industry as possible. It means that people living in communities in Guyana can make money selling tourism as their primary source of income.
English is widely spoken across the country, meaning visitors from the United States and the UK are encouraged to pay Guyana a visit. Many villages in Guyana have pooled their resources together to invest in sustainable tourism, meaning everyone benefits, while no one gets harmed.
Galapagos Islands – Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are home to one of the most diverse collections of wildlife anywhere in the world. There is a lot of wildlife to protect, and the Galapagos tourism board does everything it possibly can to make that happen. When Charles Darwin made his way to the island in the 1930s, it instantly became a place of interest for biologists, and so that’s the way it remains.
More than 98% of the Galapagos Islands are protected by conservation status, and tourism works under a model of ecotourism. Tourism is controlled by SIMAVIS (Sistema de Manejo de Visitantes), which is responsible for approving visitors to the islands. The priority for the islands is conservation, and it runs programs of sustainable tourism to help ensure that happens.
The island country of Palau in the Pacific Ocean is doing everything it can to create a sustainable tourism culture. It took a bold measure to ban the use of reef-toxic sun cream from the beginning of 2020, to better protect the marine life being affected by divers.
Visitors to Palau are also asked to take a pledge before stepping foot onto the island. People making their way to Palau are asked to swear to protect the cultural and natural heritage. Considering the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, pledging to protect that is the least people can do when visiting.
The Azores – Portugal
Portugal’s collection of islands known as the Azores is one place of beauty the country can’t seem to get enough of. In order to sustain the amazing wildlife and plant life across these nine islands, the Azores uses a sustainable power grid for a quarter of its power.
The Azores has an ambitious aim to have the first 100% renewable system in the world, and it’s working hard to achieve that goal. Visitors to the Azores will be taken aback by its beauty, and thanks to its sustainable tourism model, they will continue to do so for many years to come.
North Island – Seychelles
The North Island in the Seychelles set about restoring the natural balance it once had. It did so by going biblical and creating its own version of Noah’s ark. The goal was to restore the biodiversity on the island, which had been overrun by invasive animal and plant species, with sustainability at its heart.
To help do this, the North Island also created a world-class resort that would bring plenty of wealthy tourists to the country. The North Island combined ecotourism with conservation to great effect, and many of the invasive plants and animals have been removed. Sea turtles are nesting in ever-growing numbers, while species of birds have been reintroduced to the island.
Paphos Region – Cyprus
The Paphos region in Cyprus is known as the mythical birthplace of the legendary Greek figure Aphrodite, making it a place of interest in the region. The coastal region is more than just a place in mythology though, and it’s becoming known as one of the best sustainable travel destinations in the world. The sandy beaches in the Paphos region are the breeding grounds of both loggerhead and green turtles.
Numbers of the turtles are growing each year thanks to the conservation efforts of the Sea Turtle Conservation Project. Businesses in Paphos had concerns about the sustainability of the region’s tourism industry, and now hotels must meet certain quality standards. The sustainable tourism strategy in place in Paphos makes this place more than just another sunny beach holiday destination.
Ljubljana – Slovenia
Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana is proving to be one of the most sustainable tourist destinations in all of Europe. Instead of taking an open-top bus tour through the city, tourists are encouraged to take in the country’s capital on foot or by bicycle. The city promotes sustainable tours to welcome people to their country and explain more about its history.
Ljubljana is fast becoming one of Europe’s top cycling destinations, while tours also focus on taking people out of the city centre. This helps to reduce congestion in the city centre while promoting the art and architecture to tourists.
Bhutan is a small country found in the Himalayan mountains, which places significant importance on sustainability. With the vast majority of the country covered in forest, tourism in Bhutan is largely based on trying to keep the landscape as well preserved as possible. Any tourism that comes into the country must be sustainable and ecologically friendly.
That’s not all though, and tourism also must be culturally and socially acceptable. With that in mind, tourists must stay in at least three-star hotels, and pay no less than the equivalent of US$65 per night. That money spent by tourists is then put back into social development for the tourist’s destination.
People are trying to see as much of the world as they can before it’s too late. Aviation is considered to be a huge contributor to the impact on the planet that tourism has, so it might be worth considering other means of transport if possible.
For example, most destinations in Europe can be reached by train. These sustainable travel destinations are championing what it means to look after your local area. They are going above and beyond other areas to make sure their environment, wildlife and habitats are protected as much as possible.
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