Traveling to new destinations has to be one of the most exciting things we get to do.
Oh, the sheer delight that blends with your pleasant surprise when you get to experience another part of the world. It's no surprise that countries receive an estimated 1.4 billion international arrivals due to tourism from travelers every year.
Over the years, many travel trends have come and gone, but we are particularly excited about a recent trend that seems to be here to stay. This growing trend combines the thrill of a trip abroad with the responsibility of caring for the environment. Some people call it sustainable travel, while others may call it sustainable tourism.
You may have heard of it as we did but perhaps, did not know what it is all about.
Read on for a clearer understanding of what sustainable travel is.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable travel focuses on reducing the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, economy, and wellbeing of people living there.
What tends to happen when so many people travel to a particular country, city or, destination annually? Overcrowding, which can lead to environmental pollution. And, air pollution due to an increase in carbon emissions from vehicles also comes into play.
However, sustainable tourism reduces your carbon footprint and ensures that the beautiful destinations you have visited are maintained for more tourists to see in the future. Now that you're more informed about sustainable travel, you are probably wondering how to begin.
We like to think that your environment defines your habits. And as far as sustainable practices go, the following countries have done a great job in encouraging sustainable travel.
Ready to make your travel lifestyle as harmless to you as it is fun? Then you would like these beautiful destinations:
Located right in between popular tourist destinations like Italy, Hungary, Croatia, and Austria, this small European country was a hidden gem to tourists for a long time. In recent times, Slovenia has gained attention for its alluring greenery and very tall mountain peaks. And we all could not help but fall in love with this neat country that portrays an image of cleanliness.
In August 2021, Slovenia was rewarded for its strong focus on sustainable tourism as it was declared the cleanest country in the world. It received the highest scores in all categories, meeting 96 out of 100 sustainability indicators such as environmental and climate change care, cultural authenticity, and biodiversity.
Their attention towards sustainability is near perfect.
As long as you stay here, you will be encouraged to use public bicycles and buses that move on natural gas. They may be your new favorite means to get around since cars are banned from driving in the centers of the major cities.
The capital city, Ljubljana, is alive with historical museums and cultural festivals. As well as scenic destinations such as Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, Soča Valley, and the Škocjan Caves, which are excellent places for discovering the great outdoors.
2. COSTA RICA:
If there is one country that sits on the bucket list of every sustainable traveler, it has to be Costa Rica. For over 20 years, eco-tourism has been a strong priority for this Central American country. A significant portion of it has been set aside as UNESCO-protected parks and reserves.
Costa Rica creates an experience that connects tourists to the beauty of nature. Every fun activity here has sustainability and eco-friendliness written all over it. There are relaxing Eco-lodges built into the rainforest, calming yoga retreats, and breathtaking surroundings begging to be hiked.
Costa Rica is also home to six percent of the world's species, so you are likely to spontaneously come in contact with beautiful animals while in this country.
Whatever you choose to do in Costa Rica, you are bound to stay mentally aware of its environment.
You were probably already heading here without our recommendation, because the paradisical gorgeousness of the Maldives hardly requires any introduction.
Many of its Islands spots beautiful resorts that house tourists right above clear shallow waters — a strong tourist attraction. As a result, sustainability is taken very seriously in this place to maintain its beautiful white sand beaches and clear waters.
The desire for sustainability in the Maldives can be seen in their fight against plastic. Many hotels and resorts have engaged in several initiatives to reduce plastic use and recycle used plastic.
So pick a spot on an Island and enjoy your vacation guilt-free!
Finland is a breath of fresh air!
Everything about tourism in this country tells of careful planning towards sustainable living.
Finland's tourism board has a "Sustainable Finland" program that helps travelers navigate the country without harming the environment. By planning eco-friendly escapes and engaging with nature, you will have a hard time leaving a carbon footprint in Finland.
This probably explains why Finland ranks high for clean lakes and clean air.
The capital city, Helsinki, particularly deserves credit for its commitment to sustainability. Helsinki's public transport system runs on electricity, produced by wind power and water. So a polluted atmosphere will not be one of your problems in Helsinki.
We don't know any other country that makes its visitors sign a mandatory eco-tourism pledge besides Palau.
This beautiful Pacific nation is a tourist attraction for its many volcanic and coral islands. And they probably have the most effective method of preserving their natural beauty. Palau makes its visitors sign a mandatory Eco pledge promising to be good environmental stewards for the duration of their stay via a passport stamp.
By doing this, Palau stays free of waste and preserves the natural environment and marine life that make it peculiar to tourists. This destination may be far away for American and European tourists, but it is a great sustainable option for Australians and New Zealanders.
A major commercial city may have been the last thing you'd expect to see on a sustainable travel list some years ago. But in recent times, Singapore has led the way in eco-friendliness and sustainable tourism.
The moment you step into the country, you get to see the first example of Singapore's generous investment in the sustainable tourism sector. We refer, of course, to the spectacular Changi Airport which has been named the most sustainable airport in the world!
Going further into the country, you get to see the famous Gardens by the Bay — recognized as a sustainable super park. Singapore is also working towards increasing its rate of recycling to 70% by the year 2030.
7. THE NETHERLANDS.
Another European country that has made significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint is the Netherlands. It is everything you could want in a big developed city, without the fast-paced lifestyle.
When visiting the Netherlands, you may see more people prefer to move around by bicycle than cars. It may be because bicycles are the fastest way to get around, but it also helps reduce their carbon footprint.
Switzerland is a beautiful country know for its positive political environment, pristine lakes, mountains, and forests. But it is also increasingly popular for its sustainable development goals.
Switzerland is a world leader in recycling and waste management. The country successfully separates and recycles organic and recyclable waste while converting the rest to energy. It is no surprise that it was named one of the top five countries achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals the fastest.
This country is a haven for zero waste-minded people.
9. NEW ZEALAND.
Producing just 0.2% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, New Zealand was one of the first countries to pledge a carbon-neutral future.
Are you an outdoorsy person? New Zealand serves up some of the best eco-friendly activities. You can swim, hike, camp, and kayak till you get tired.
Iceland is a stunning destination when it comes to natural beauty. You have to witness its epic waterfalls, frequent volcanic activity, and charming resorts. The best part is that Icelandair offers free stopovers in Iceland, bringing in a lot of tourists to the country.
Not to worry though, over 300 Icelandic tourism companies have pledged to work towards a responsible tourism initiative that aims to lessen the impact of tourism on the environment.