We may be halfway through 2017 – the year that was officially named the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) – but by no means has sustainable tourism become a dying fad.
Tour operators globally are reporting a marked increase, especially from millennial travellers, in enquiries about sustainable travel destinations as more people are actively aware of the impact that travel and tourism have on the planet.
“Millennial travellers are always looking for their next big adventure where they want to see, feel and taste their destination, explore every aspect of the culture, and, of course, give back to the communities they visit,” says Jane Davidson, director at Development Promotions which represents G Adventures in the South African market.
Here are some top tips for travellers to ensure they enjoy the ultimate sustainable travel adventure:
Choose a green destination
Many travellers want to visit destinations that involve seeing wildlife and endangered species in their natural habitats. This is leading to more people choosing “green” destinations. These destinations offer eco-friendly choices like public transport and sustainable initiatives, and do all they can to protect their native wildlife.
Uganda is currently one such destination as it offers the ultimate primate experience. Not only are visitors able to experience the country’s culture by trekking through local villages and rainforests, but they will ultimately find themselves in the company of a family of gorillas. One of Africa’s major highlights, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is the home to approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the world’s most endangered ape. A close encounter with these amazing animals is not soon forgotten.
You don’t have to volunteer to give back
For many travellers, ethical or eco-travel goes hand in hand with volunteering. This does not always have to be the case and you can contribute or give back to the destinations you visit in many other ways.
A Jane Goodall Collection with G Adventures trip, such as a Polar Bear experience in Churchill, Canada, for exapmple, offers travellers to observe these giants in the wild alongside a naturalist expert from Polar Bears International, one of the world’s leading organisations dedicated to protecting these amazing animals. You can also enjoy a picnic on the tundra or go dog sledding through the region’s breathtaking landscapes on a one-of-a-kind wildlife adventure.
By booking a Jane Goodall Collection with G Adventures’ trip, you’ll support the Jane Goodall Institute’s mission to protect wildlife and empower local communities.
The best way to travel sustainably? Stay at locally-owned lodges, eat at local restaurants, and get to know the local people.
When travelling to Peru, visit Parwa Community restaurant, a G Adventures for Good project. The food is nothing short of delicious, and the restaurant is a great reminder of how travellers can support local communities and make the world a better place.
In Caye Caulker, Belize, G Adventures’ travellers can help with educating local teenagers and assist them in gaining employment skills by taking a guided bike tour around the island. The two-hour ‘Bike with Purpose’ ride invites visitors to embrace the island’s motto of ‘go slow’, while supporting the nearby high school and learning about the area’s idyllic nature, history and culture.
In Madagascar, visit the small village of Fiadanana. You can explore this beautiful village by foot, bicycle, or in a famous “pousse-pousse”. Listen to a ghost talker, enjoy a stay at a community guesthouse, and dinner with a local family.