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Ecotourism and Responsible Travel

More than ever before, travellers are finding a way to see the world through a responsible lens. We provide the ultimate guide to ecotourism and how you can be a responsible tourist on your next vacation.

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Top Destinations

Top Ecotourism Destinations

  • Costa Rica
  • Beyond the parks, reserves, and rainforests, ecotourism is booming. Costa Rica is a pillar of sustainable development. This ultimate ecotourism destination consists of biological, natural and protected parks, all housing the country’s remarkable wildlife.

    Classy eco-lodges feature organic dining and naturally-heated rock pools.

    Visit Finca Luna Nueva, a biodynamic farm and eco-lodge built from fallen trees.

    It’s visa-free for up to 90 days!

  • Rwanda
  • Rwanda makes you realise that it is possible to manage without plastic bags. This East African country shows a nationwide commitment in restoration by planting millions of trees to protect the country’s forests, rivers and wetlands.

    It is illegal to import, produce, use or sell any plastic bags in Rwanda.

    Go on a gorilla trekking safari through Volcanoes National Park.

    Savour Rwanda’s aromatic coffee and try traditional banana beer.

  • Uruguay
  • Just by walking the streets of Uruguay, you will know why this destination made the list. Spend your environmentally friendly holiday in cities with cleaner, greener air. Uruguay has numerous wind farms, solar panels and hydro-electric supplies which have been responsible for the majority of the country’s power and renewable energy.

    Walk the cobbled streets of Colonia del Sacramento for a dose of history and culture.

    Did you know that over 95% of Uruguay’s electricity supply is generated by renewable sources?

    It’s visa-free for up to 90 days!

  • Slovenia
  • Responsible tourists can confirm that the Slovenian government has put sustainable practices into the heart of its ecotourism operations. Visitors should support local hotels and restaurants, buy ethically and local sourced products. If this doesn’t sound like the perfect guilt-free getaway, then what does?

    Be dazzled by the alpine forests, waterfalls and fairytale castles.

    Walk and cycle around town, or grab public buses (which run on natural gas).

    Swim with sea turtles, learn about coffee and discover underground caves.

  • Iceland
  • It is easy to have an environmentally friendly holiday in Iceland. This breathtakingly beautiful island is well known for its fjords, natural hot springs, volcanos, Northern Lights, whale watching and glacier hiking. Iceland is one of the last untouched destinations left on earth and therefore has a substantial duty to promote responsible tourism.

    Iceland is the only country in the world whose electricity and heat are entirely generated from renewable sources.

    Reduce your carbon footprint with activities like hiking, dog-sledding and horseback riding.

    Treat yourself to a geothermal spa and a few nights in an ice hotel.

  • Singapore
  • If you’re wondering how ecotourism is handled in a sizably populated city, Singapore has the answer with its numerous green initiatives. Plantlife is found in buildings with walls of greenery and even the solar-powered “trees” at Gardens by the Bay is one of the most iconic eco-features of Singapore.

    Marvel at the creative architecture and grand skyscrapers that adorn the city.

    Visit the Social Space - an eco-friendly shopping space which allows you to refill household items in your own bottles.

    Hotels offer responsible travel experiences with solar-powered gardens, open-air ventilation and rainwater canopies.

  • Palau
  • Located in the Pacific Ocean, Palau is made up of 500 islands and is one of the worlds most prominent diving destinations. It’s also home to the famous Jellyfish Lake. Thanks to the UN Environment Project, the government is able to ensure that the country’s biodiversity remains minimally impacted.

    The almost 805 kilometres of reefs are designated no-fishing zones to repopulate the species in the area.

    Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with the Palau Pledge, a set of vows to sign promising to “tread lightly, act kindly, and explore mindfully”.

    Explore the freshwater lakes and monolithic sites on Babeldaob Island.

  • Botswana
  • Looking for a travel destination to relax in direct contact with nature? Africa’s eco-haven is filled with sustainable lodges, local trade markets and free-roaming wildlife at your doorstep. Educational safaris are a win-win for responsible tourists and pave the way in re-shaping sustainable tourism.

    Try a mobile camping safari where travellers trek on foot through wild areas with a team of rangers.

    Did you know Botswana is home to around 130,000 elephants - more than any other country in the world?

    It’s visa-free for up to 90 days!

  • Denmark
  • Denmark is recognised as one of the top climate-friendly countries in the world with the most efficient policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent climate change.

    Unleash your inner Viking by exploring the country’s many monuments and historical sites.

    Visit the eco-friendly capital, Copenhagen - one of the greenest cities in the world.

    Indulge your child-like wonder on a day trip to Legoland.

10 Things to Do in Reykjavik, Iceland

Hotel Tips

Hotel Tips for Responsible Tourists

  • Use the “Do Not Disturb” Sign
  • By cutting on extensive cleaning, you save on water, electricity, chemical emissions and non-biodegradable products.

    Air dry your towel each day and only have it washed when needed.

  • Stay at Eco-Friendly Hotels
  • Look for seals of approval from other certification programmes or affiliates.

    Find out how your hotel practices ecotourism and uses local resources to promote sustainability in the community.

  • Your Room, Your Responsibility
  • Regard your hotel room as your temporary home.

    Switch off lights, aircon, TV, and unplug charging devices when leaving the room.

  • Respect the Green Policy
  • Although hotels will have a set list of what visitors can do to contribute, take initiative and act as ‘green’ as possible.

    Be respectful of the hotel’s policies and philosophies around ecotourism.

  • Toiletry Tricks
  • It is always best to bring your own toiletries with you.

    Do not open the hotel toiletries unless you intend to use them completely; otherwise, pack in any half-used bottles to reuse at home.

  • Shower Power
  • Did you know for every 12th shower you take for six minutes long, you can fill one bath?

    Keep your shower as short as possible – between five and seven minutes is a good benchmark.

Before Your Trip

Be A Responsible Tourist Before Your Trip

  • Book Online
  • Ditch all the paper and printing by booking your travel online and managing your booking on a travel app.

    Dodge the risk of losing your printed ticket and keep your travel documents digital.

    Book everything from flights, accommodation and car hire to holiday packages and local activities.

  • Travel Smart
  • Choose direct flights over flights with multiple connections. Flying direct in Economy Class reduces your carbon footprint.

    For short and local getaways, opt for a road trip and car pool where possible.

    Pack light and take refillable bottles to use on your trip.

  • Unplug Your Home
  • Switch off electronics like playstations, TVs and computers when you leave home.

    Unplug all charging devices from sockets to prevent a short circuit.

    Reduce your fridge’s power setting and empty out as much as possible before you leave.

Travel Checklist: How To Pack Smart For Your Next Trip

During Your Trip

How to Be Eco-Friendly on Holiday

  • Do Your Research
  • Find out how eco-friendly your tour is and which companies it’s associated with. Be aware of greenwashing: when a company lies about its products, activities or policies being eco-friendly when they're not.

    Check your products. If you’re headed to the beach, use sunscreen without the ingredient oxybenzone - this damages coral reefs.

  • Keep Things Digital
  • Load maps, tickets and any other documents you need on your electronic devices.

    Have everything available at one click of a button and minimize the risk of losing any important documents.

  • Think Local and be Respectful
  • Visit local markets. Buying locally-produced souvenirs reduces mass importation and unethical labour practices. Learn a few basic phrases in the local language and ask permission before taking photos of people.

    Do not support any activities harming endangered species, wildlife or deforestation (elephant riding in Thailand is a no-no).

  • Choose Public Transport
  • Metros and subways produce about 76% lower emissions per person than single-occupancy vehicles, so avoid those taxi cabs!

    Why not walk or cycle instead? ‘Slow travel’ is one of the best ways to get a local experience and a new perspective on sightseeing.

  • Dispose Responsibly
  • Separate your waste from recyclable items and throw them in designated bins. Green travel supports using refillable bottles, avoiding takeaway packaging and not wasting food.

    Steer clear of non-biodegradable products and opt for rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones.

  • Recharge With Solar Energy
  • Solar energy is one of the cleanest and most reliable sources available and contribute massively to ecotourism.

    Exchange your chargers and devices for solar-powered ones where possible. This will come in handy when you forget to charge your devices before heading outside.

Water-Saving Tips

Top Travel Apps

Top Travel Apps for Responsible Travel

  • Green Globe
  • Green Globe has been rated the best app for finding trustable eco-friendly hotels and attractions in your city. It’s active in most countries and ranks them on a criteria checklist, including environmental cleanup, recycling and employee training.

  • Oroeco
  • With Oroeco you simply input your activities, purchases and consumption into the app and the algorithm shows you the impact of your decisions on the environment. It not only motivates green travel, but it's simple enough to incorporate in your daily lifestyle.

  • HopStop
  • HopStop suggests the best eco-friendly travel options near you, be it a train, bus, ferry, bicycle or your feet. Access up-to-date public transport schedules, as well as detailed maps and the approximate trip lengths. It is a quick and convenient way to make responsible travel easy.

  • TripIt
  • Wouldn’t it be great if all your travel documents, maps and tickets could fit in your pocket? Well, with Tripit, they can! This app assembles all your travel information on your phone or device. It is “modern” ecotourism at its best. The app collates your itinerary for you and can also sync with multiple travel apps.

  • HappyCow
  • Attention all vegans and vegetarians! The HappyCow travel guide can help you find vegetarian or vegan restaurants to dine at. You can filter out results, browse the most popular lists and store your favourite venues on the app.

  • Locavore
  • Locavore helps you discover which fruits and vegetables are in season where you are, and shares the locations of nearby fresh food providers like open-to-the-public farms, markets and community-supported agriculture venues. After shopping, get inspired to cook up a meal from the variety of recipes on the app.

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