The travel industry takes a large toll on the environment, so it’s important to be aware of ways in which we can all travel more sustainably. One way you can do so is by choosing to visit countries or cities that place a large focus on sustainability and maintaining their environment. Today we’re taking a look at 5 sustainable travel destinations you should consider visiting next time you book a trip! This is by no means an exhaustive list (as many countries are continually making changes to become more sustainable) but rather a starting point for sustainable travel.
Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas and is one of the best sustainable travel destinations! The entire country is focused on sustainability, with its four pillars being sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation and good governance.
One of the most noteworthy aspects is that it’s a carbon-negative country (removes more CO2 than it adds) and tourists who visit actually contribute to the country’s conservation. On top of that, 60% of the landmass is protected as forest and is maintained through low-impact tourism. Unless you’re from India, Bangladesh or the Maldives, those who hope to visit must have a visa ($40) and travel with a tour operator is mandatory. The tour operating fee comes at the cost of $200-250 each day and includes accommodation, meals, the tour guide, camping and equipment and all travel (excluding flights).
Tourists also pay a $65 daily sustainable development fee (included in their tour package). The money goes to healthcare, tourism, education and more. If you’re wondering how this country has managed to stay carbon neutral, it’s mostly due to its slow development. With the first roads only built in the 1960s, many people were slow to get cars and the capital city, Thimphu, is the only capital city in Asia with no traffic lights.
While it’s safe to say that Bhutan isn’t the most budget friendly location, it’s certainly worth checking out if you’re hoping to travel more sustainably!
Chumbe Island, Tanzania
Chumbe Island is off the coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania in East Africa. It’s a protected marine area that focuses on the restoration of wildlife. Guests who visit have the chance to try traditional Zanzibarian cuisine which is made locally to reduce waste. It’s home to over 200 coral species, so it’s one of the best places you can snorkel and local guides can teach you about the geology of the island.
The island also places a large focus on education and employment opportunities for those from nearby villages. A third of the staff is involved directly with conservation efforts and many learn the skills needed on the job. Women also make up 40% of the workforce.
North Island, Seychelles
The North Island of Seychelles is often overlooked. Once upon a time it was exploited and became uneconomical in the 1970s. Since then, North Island, Seychelles has become known as a world-class eco-tourism spot where wildlife has been rehabilitated.
The island is now completely plastic-free as well, the beaches are kept in pristine condition and volunteers patrol the beaches every day to remove any debris. This is one of the best sustainable travel destinations you’ll come across!
Republic of Palau
Have you heard of the Republic of Palau? Don’t worry, I didn’t know about it until recently. It’s an island east of the Philippines and north of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Palau places great importance on its environment and sustainable tourism. When its tourism increased in 2016 by over 10%, the country realized the growth wouldn’t be sustainable and chose to focus on high-value visitors. Palau is a popular place for diving, so it’s important for them to seek out experienced divers who won’t have as much of an impact on marine life.
Palau is now a carbon-neutral destination. Aside from the eco-pledge visitors have to sign upon arrival, as well as eco-tourism, the country is also committed to providing sustainable food options. One of their projects works to increase the production of locally sourced and sustainable foods.
Paphos Region, Cyprus
Paphos is an amazing destination, especially in the summer. It ranks as one of the most sustainable destinations in terms of cleanliness and harmony with the natural environment. They’ve been recognized internationally for their sustainability efforts, which can be incredibly difficult to do as such a popular tourist site.
Almost 4 million tourists visit this area of Cyprus each year to enjoy the Mediterranean food, pristine beaches and rugged coastal line. If you’re looking for your next Europe trip, Cyprus is a must!
Are you ready to travel sustainably?
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