The holiday season is upon us and you’ve decided to join the multitudes of travelers looking to escape from the clamour of it all. You want to travel somewhere exotic for your holiday but at the same time be sustainably responsible. How about becoming an eco-tourist? The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” TIES believes it is about “uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.” They have six ecotourism principles participants should adhere to:
- “Minimize impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.”
Eco-tourism can sound daunting, but here are five destination suggestions that will satisfy your need for a holiday and are eco conscious in more ways than one:
Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman
Six Senses is ensconced in the Musandam Peninsula with the Hajar mountains on one side and the beach at Zighy Bay on the other. The resort aims to acquire their products from suppliers that are environmentally and socially responsible. Preference is given to local suppliers, and if possible, to organic and fair-trade produced products as per their Responsible Purchasing Policy. Six Senses uses water-saving appliances in an effort to decrease consumption of water and constantly works towards reducing their environmental impact. They also have the Six Senses Carbon Offset Programme to offset CO2 emissions in visitors flights to the resort.
EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile:
EcoCamp offers visitors the opportunity to explore the ancient forests, glaciers and lakes of the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. Additionally, the Andes Mountains provide a spectacular view in an area where guests can go hiking, rafting, skiing, participate in wine tours and much more. The camp has rules for guests to follow to maintain sustainability and is Environmental Management System certified. Travelers stay in the world’s first Geodesic Domes, which are structured to minimize surface area and temperature changes. The domes make the resort an idea eco travel destination by blending into the natural environment while still providing cushioning to protect from strong winds and provide warmth.
Alila Villas Soori, Bali
The Alila Villas Soori in Bali is an eco travel, beachfront resort located between tropical rice fields and volcanic-sand beaches set against the Indian Ocean. For building, planning, and design the resort features EC3 Global EarthCheck Standard. Buildings are laid out to take advantage of the local environment – natural light is used in the buildings while minimizing heat and volcanic rock and plants are combined to provide an organic cooling system. Alila Villas Soori’s purchasing strategy includes obtaining 85% of its ingredients and goods and services from local sources and the majority of employees are locals.
The Sandals Caribbean Resorts is a participant in the EarthCheck program and has water conservation, energy management, control of hazardous substances, and waste management programs. They also highlight local vendors by offering ‘green tours’ to help give back to the community while ensuring Sandals’ staff is educated about being environmentally friendly.
Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort, Palawan, Philippines
Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort is located on a secluded beach and is walking distance from one of the Philippines’ UNESCO World Heritage sites – the Puerto Princesa’s Underground River National Park. The entire resort is powered by generators and uses rooftop solar panels and energy-saving light bulbs. Low maintenance regional plants are used for the landscape and biodegradables are composted to decrease the load on local waste facilities. Go on a Mangrove tour or enjoy some swimming and hiking during your stay. Daluyon is a member of the zero carbon resorts project and supports the Clean & Green Earth Campaign.
by Melissa Cho and Rea Gosine
This series on living fantastic for the holiday season is a collaboration between Greenster and the students of the Langara Publishing Program, who as a team produce Pacific Rim Magazine. Enjoy!