Summer is finally around the corner! Summer is a time for no school, lots of cool events, and plenty of time to spend outdoors. Have you ever wondered how you can combine your passions of travel and sustainability? Well, you are not alone. From future carbon-neutral cities to countries that aim to support nature and sustainable ecotourism, here is a list of some travel destinations so you can start planning a memorable summer to deepen your relationship with the environment without negatively affecting it.
Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is widely known for being one of the leaders in sustainable practices and ecotourism, which are a major economic force for the country. As a matter of fact, 25% of Costa Rica is protected as either a national park, wildlife refuge, or reserve ( Parker 2017). It has prioritized nature preservation and sustainable development for decades; for example, it has adopted a program that offers a certificate for sustainable tourism to vendors, so they can link their businesses’ success to environmental conservation and a good quality of life for local communities (Discova 2020).
Kingdom of Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a county located between China and India and with a strong Buddhist culture; it also has eight declared sites in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative lists. It is widely known to be a carbon-neutral country and the government decided to adopt a “high value, low impact” approach which supports sustainable tourism. The policy aims to offer tourists a unique and meaningful experience in Bhutan while promoting its environmental and cultural heritage (Dhradhul 2021).
Rwanda, also known as the country of a thousand hills, is one of the fast-growing and greenest countries in Africa. Over the course of recent years, the government has implemented several sustainable practices such as a plastic bag ban, development of ecotourism, and conservation of biodiversity and the country’s endangered mountain gorillas. Rwandan ecotourism is a booming sector and has contributed to the country’s economic growth by supporting local businesses and creating jobs for local communities. Some activities you can enjoy in Rwanda include the Congo Nile trail, tracking chimpanzees, visiting several national parks, village walks, volunteering opportunities, tea plantation tours, banana beer production, and the Kitabi Ecocenter, a traditionally-built accommodation with sky and mountain views (Ahmed 2018).
It is an archipelago composed of nine islands that is part of Portugal. The islands are considered one of the best sustainable and affordable destinations and are a great getaway for those looking for natural beauty and cultural diversity. Since 2019, the Azores have been officially recognized as the world’s first island archipelago to become a certified sustainable tourist destination under the EarthCheck Sustainable Destination program due to the community effort to preserve and protect its beautiful environment. The archipelago contains natural heritage sites, UNESCO Biosphere reserves, lakes, mountains, geothermal springs, protected marine life, and wildlife such as dolphins, sperm whales, marine turtles, and more (Azores Getaways).
Whether you plan on taking a trip with your family/friend or by yourself, make sure to not only adopt sustainable practices but also choose a sustainable destination where you can enjoy mother nature.
Have a safe, fun, and sustainable summer, Dons!
Ahmed, H. 2018. Eco-Tourism: Rwanda’s Fastest Growing Sector. NBSAP Forum.
Retrieved from https://nbsapforum.net/knowledge-base/best-practice/eco-tourism-rwanda%E2%80%99s-fastest-growing-sector.
Azores Getaway. n.D. The Azores Are The World’s First Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination. Retrieved from https://azoresgetaways.com/en-us/destination/azores/general-articles/sustainable-tourism-destination.
Discova. 2020. Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica. Discova. Retrieved from https://www.discova.com/blog/sustainable-tourism-in-costa-rica/#:~:text=Even%20outside%20of%20eco%2Dtourism,days%20using%20100%25%20renewable%20energy.
Dhradhul, D. 2021. High value, low volume tourism: Is Bhutan’s old normal the world’s new normal?. Good Tourism Blog. Retrieved from https://goodtourismblog.com/2021/04/high-value-low-volume-tourism-is-bhutans-old-normal-the-worlds-new-normal/.
Parker, J. 2017. Meet the Heroes of Costa Rica Leading the Way for Sustainable Tourism. Culture Trip. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/central-america/costa-rica/articles/meet-the-heroes-of-costa-rica-leading-the-way-for-sustainable-tourism/.