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Perspective is something so many of us have gained during the last few years. Whether it was seeing nature thrive while human activity stopped at the height of the pandemic, or the grim scenes of wildfires and extreme weather having a terrible impact on communities around the world, there have been many reminders that striving towards sustainability is all of our responsibility. And travel doesn’t have to be an unsustainable endeavor.
There are ways to help your clients travel more sustainably, whether it’s choosing to take the train or a ferry instead of a plane, or booking destinations where sustainability is easy to achieve and support.
Why should you promote sustainable travel?
It’s essential to understand and be open to booking sustainable travel – not least because some of the fabulous destinations you might want to send clients to could disappear as a result of rising sea levels (the much-loved Maldives is at a high risk, for example).
But an even more compelling reason to care is that an encouraging 83% of people think sustainability in travel is important, according to a UN IPCC report. When travel publisher Rough Guides did a survey in 2021, 96% of their readers said sustainability was important to them, too, so it’s likely your clients are already thinking about their impact on the world when they hit the road.
Interestingly, sustainability is already impacting decision-making, too, according to Rough Guides’ results. Over 30% of respondents said they would take fewer flights in 2022, and 45% would rent an electric vehicle instead of a fossil fuel-powered car. Perhaps most importantly, travlers are eager to leave less of a mark when they travel, so now’s the time to really get to know the world’s sustainable destinations and what’s on offer in each.
Which are the world’s most sustainable destinations?
Some places make travelling sustainably easier than others. Those with excellent carbon-free policies, renewable energy sources and initiatives for green tourism are a safe bet for anyone wishing to support sustainability in the modern era. These are the destinations to recommend for your clients.
For a wild escape: Isle of Eigg, Scotland
Scotland has been leading the UK’s renewable energy drive for the last decade, and in October 2019, 98% of the country’s electricity came from wind power. Its islands are its most sustainable areas, with destinations like the Isle of Eigg famed for its renewable energy projects and sustainability initiatives – the island generates its own electricity using solar, wind and water.
Your clients can expect white-sand beaches worthy of any Caribbean postcard, incredible hiking opportunities and exciting wildlife such as otters, red deer and elusive stoats. A wildly natural landscape, this sustainable destination is all about getting away from the everyday.
For an island escape: Hawaii
For customers closer to or in the US, sometimes getting to Europe can be difficult – and expensive! But with its world-renowned archipelagos, sacred landscapes and oceans teeming with fragile ecosystems, it’s not surprising that Hawaii is a hotspot for green escapes. It’s also not surprising that Hawaii is, first and foremost, dedicated to getting travelers to explore sustainably. Their Share The Aloha initiative encourages visitors to explore with respect, in a way that supports local businesses and lessens the impact on these stunning islands. With a growing reliance on renewable energy, eco-conscious tours that provide opportunities to give back to each islands’ ecosystems and local communities to support, Hawaii is the perfect destination to explore mindfully. Plus, in 2018 Hawaii banned sunscreen that contained coral-harming chemicals, and this bill officially came into effect in 2021!
For a jungle adventure: Costa Rica
If you’ve got climate-conscious clients who want to travel without making too much of an impact, suggest destinations that have excellent green credentials such as Costa Rica, a country where 28% of its land is protected wilderness and 99% of its energy comes from renewable sources. Once here, it’s easy for your clients to stay sustainably, as the country is famous for its myriad eco lodges, many of which are owned and run by local people, providing jobs and economic benefits for the surrounding communities.
Environmentally friendly, zero-carbon activities such as hiking, cycling and even zip lining can be enjoyed among its lush, tropical forests, and the wildlife watching opportunities are enthralling.
For a sustainable spa break: Iceland
The Land of Ice and Fire is famous for its bubbling volcanoes. The island’s geothermal qualities offer an excellent source of renewable energy, which powers electricity and offers sustainable heating options for Icelandic homes, hotels and more. This makes Iceland one of the most sustainable destinations in Europe, and its geothermal powers are put to good use in another, more leisurely way: at the spa.
Most famously, Iceland is home to the Blue Lagoon, a manmade hole in the ground that was accidentally flooded with balmy, warm water from beneath the rocks. It was supposed to be part of a quarry, but has now been turned into a huge, luxurious spa with a muddy base so full of minerals it promises glowing skin for anyone brave enough to plaster it across their face. Elsewhere, geothermal lakes and small pools can be found all over the country, making this the ideal destination for a spa break that won’t break the Earth.
For a sunny beach break: Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England
Convince your clients to swap Sicily for the Scilly Isles and they won’t be disappointed. Not only is this small, low-lying archipelago off the coast of Cornwall already a low-impact destination – thanks to its car-free islands and low food mileage (there are countless excellent producers on the islands) – but it’s also home to some of Britain’s most spectacular stretches of sand. Fine grains of white sand fringe the five inhabited isles here, with impossibly clear oceans gently lapping on the shores. There are seals to spot in the water, seabirds in the skies and gorgeous seafront homes and hotels to book for your ocean-loving clients. What’s more is that the region is in its own little microclimate, which is often a few degrees warmer than mainland Britain. When there’s jacket weather in Cornwall, it’s usually t-shirt weather on the Scillies.
For a climate-friendly city escape: Stockholm, Sweden
The Swedish capital has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040, so it’s already on the way to becoming a more sustainable and renewable city, but many of its businesses and private companies have already pledged to do the same by 2030. Music lovers will enjoy the ABBA Museum and Avicii exhibition, while foodies will delight in the city’s expansive and sustainable offering, with chefs across Stockholm utilizing the local produce and fish from the waters that surround the archipelago.
For a beach break: Barbados
Although this small republic – 21 miles by 14 – might not be the first that comes to mind when sustainability is mentioned, that’s set to change. It’s taken huge leaps to transfer to renewables in recent years, under Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s dedication to setting dramatic climate-crisis targets for a country that’s so regularly at the mercy of the weather. The newly reconvened the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) aims to regrow Barbados’s tourism levels with sustainability at the core, and which has resulted in significant enterprises. From the reclaimed sugar plantation La Maison Michelle focused on eco-hospitality, the permaculture driven forest-to-table ethos of Coco Hill Forest that encourages a reconnection with nature, companies like Local and Co reducing the reliance of imported goods, there are plenty of sustainable, regenerative initiatives taking this small slice of paradise by storm, ready to be explored.
For a green adventure: Slovenia
The first country in the world to have been designated a Green Destination of the World by Green Destinations, Slovenia has been considering the climate in all its tourism initiatives for decades. The capital, Ljubljana, is quite literally a green city break with its more than 180 hectares of open, green space, while natural destinations like Lake Bled and Bohinj have been awarded the highest Green Destinations accolades. Your customers will love exploring the capital’s food culture before heading out into the rural areas where glistening lakes, alpine mountainscapes and rolling hills clad with grapevines await.
For a hiking adventure: Colorado
Of course, another unmissable green destination is Colorado! With 11 national parks, 58 mountain peaks, dozens of lakes, 39,000 marked trails and 15,000 designated campsites, there’s no shortage of low-impact tourism opportunities for clients who love the outdoors. In cities like Denver, Colorado’s food scene is leading the way with farm-to-table initiatives and restaurants dedicated to eco-friendly practices. For something more hands-on, the sprawling farms of Badger Creek Ranch and Zapata Ranch offer volunteer and conservation-based holidays to learn more about sustainability and regenerative agriculture. Whether your clients love exploring the wilderness, choosing sustainability with their stomach, or giving back to this wild, wonderful state with immersive volunteer schemes, there’s something for everyone!
Sustainable travel isn’t going anywhere – in fact, today’s travelers are more eager than ever to travel with a clean conscience. Book your clients the holiday of their green dreams by searching for Green Hotels in our Booking Engine now!
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