ECOTOURISM: THE BEST SUSTAINABLE DESTINATIONS AND TRAVEL COMPANIES

Are you an avid traveler looking for your next adventure? We’re all for travel, but mass tourism can take a huge toll on the environment and local communities. 
Tourism contributes about 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with transportation accounting for 90 percent of this. Luckily, there’s a new approach to tourism that focuses on environmental impact, sustainability, and conservation: Ecotourism!

Ecotourists visit natural exotic landscapes and give back to local communities. We’ll show just how easy it is to be a responsible traveler. All it takes is a little more conscious thought!

Read on to learn about: 

  • Which environmentally-focused countries to visit¬†

  • Carbon-neutralizing businesses

  • Sustainable cultural tour and adventure companies

Environmentally-Friendly Countries:

So, you’re looking for somewhere new to explore. Why not support a country that puts effort into biodiversity conservation and local communities? We picked a few of our favorite destinations among the top environmentally-conscious countries around the globe, ranked by the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2018. Check them out!

 

 

foggy rainforest overlooking a pond in a crater

 

a rainforest beach with boats and an overcast sky

 

a tropical bird sitting on a tree branch in the rain

 

Costa Rica

Nearly 30% of the country has been designated as a national park or reserve; almost 95% of their energy needs come from local renewable resources, and the government has pledged to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021.The Costa Rican government has chosen to protect the environment over major financial gain- through incentivizing eco-friendly options, planting millions of trees, and providing wildlife refuges and tons of ecotourism options.  

Check out the Certified B Corp Costa Rican tour company Bodhi Surf Camp for a sustainable adventure!

 

 

two lions in the African bush at night

 

an African savannah at dusk with a visible star in the sky

 

a herd of zebras on the African plain

 

Botswana

This southern African nation is known for its diverse wildlife, incredible natural landscapes, and support of eco-friendly travel and sustainable tourism. Almost a 5th of the land is covered in wildlife reserves. Botswana actively encourages grassroots organizations that promote conservation projects and low-impact travel. The government plays a huge role in conservation and environmental education. 

Take a look at some epic adventures with Responsible Travel!

 

 

a native Peruvian woman in colorful clothing with an alpaca

 

an overlook of Machu Picchu from a foggy cliff

 

tall Peruvian mountains being lit up by sun rays

 

Peru

A historical and naturally diverse country, Peru is perfect for the eco-friendly traveler. 50% of the country is still covered in rainforest, and the government is doing everything they can to conserve natural landscapes and heritage sites, like investing in green bonds and generating over 75 protected regions. Natural resources are also consumed at a sustainable rate. 

Check out the awesome sustainable Peruvian tour companies Inkaterra and Action Peru Treks.

 


a rocky Swedish coast with small red houses and docks with sailboats

 

the Prague cityscape with the sun setting behind a cathedral

 

bicycles chained to a bridge rail over an Amsterdam waterway

 

Austrian village on a lake nestled between mountains
Sweden, Prague, Amsterdam, Austria

Europe

Europe isn’t only known for its history, architecture and incredible landscapes. For years, they’ve been at the top of the ranks in environmental protection and sustainable practices at a governmental level, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. They design eco-friendly choices to be easier, cheaper and more convenient for their citizens. You have to go out of your way to have a large carbon footprint. This means taking action against climate change is simple and doable, which makes Europe an amazing collection of countries to support! 

The countries included are Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Austria, Ireland, and Finland, among numerous others.


Sustainable Travel Companies

 

underside of an airplane in flight in the blue sky

 

a field of windmills at dusk

 

workers in hardhats installing solar panels

 

Carbon-Neutral Companies:

When it comes to travel, sometimes negatively-impactful choices are necessary: like taking an airplane. With the rise of ecotourism, there are now companies who work to offset the carbon footprint of your trip. For a relatively small payment, these companies will fund sustainable projects, like reforestation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, in an effort to neutralize your carbon footprint. They’re perfect for business or individual use and can be purchased to offset anything from a big trip to your daily commute. 

Some popular companies include:

  • TripZero:¬†Book your hotel through them and they‚Äôll erase your emissions for free!
  • Carbon Fund:¬†Supports over 180 projects focused in three main areas: forestry, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
  • TerraPass: $4.99 per 1,000 lbs of carbon emissions. The ecotourist bundle is a mere $59 per 10,000 lbs of carbon emissions!


Tour Companies:

Explore the globe without guilt. Work exchanges, cultural tours, and supporting the local communities- all at the top of the list for these companies. Time to get off the beaten track!

 

an ad for the WWOOF company featuring a farmer with fresh produce


WWOOF:

This world-class company connects travelers with organic farmers across the globe. Travelers offer their services and are provided with room and board by the host. It’s a unique experience with tons of positive feedback. No experience required!

 

an ad for GlobalWorks featuring teens volunteering in various positions

GlobalWorks:

GlobalWorks, a Certified B Corp, gives teens the opportunity to work with local communities across the globe. They learn new trades and skills and are immersed in a new culture. There’s a major focus on respect, education, and safety. 

 

Responsible Travel hub ad depicting various regions of the world to find travel companies in

Responsible travel:

Responsible Travel is a hub of ecotourism, only offering tours with the most low-impact, sustainable businesses they can find. For every one tour company they partner with, eight are refused. They’re all about transparency and honesty, and offer adventures in almost every region of the globe. 

 

Good Travel ad explaining their company values

Good Travel:

Explore and adventure with good intentions! GoodTravel builds personalized group tours with a focus on sustainable travel and local immersion. They’ll organize family trips, solo trips, and anything in between!

 

Intrepid Travel ad showing various tours offered and their prices

Intrepid Travel:

The world’s largest B Corp travel company, Intrepid Travel is legendary for its responsible tours, small, personal groups, and incredible tour guides. Since 2002, they’ve donated over AU $7.5 million to global grassroots projects. With tours spanning the globe, they’re a great way to explore! 


The Takeaway

 

Modern tourism, with its massive impact on natural landscapes, resources, and local culture, is unsustainable. Thankfully, ecotourism is quickly taking its place. Promoting sustainable tourism, encouraging green travel, and immersing in local traditions and culture. What better way to experience a new destination? Make your next trip an impactful one: become an ecotourist!

Tune in to our next blog post, where we’ll be focussing on earth-friendly tips for green travel!

 

 


Sources: 

The World Counts

Healthy Human Life

Costa Rica.com

The Independent

Architectural Digest

Anywhere.com