Last updated: 14 November 2018
Want to Be the Next Green Tourist?

There is always something positive you can do for the planet, even while you are on holidays! To do so, you need to analyze your habits as a tourist and spot what could be improved in your behavior.

We do not expect you to avoid planes or become crazily sustainable. After all, we all wish to enjoy our holidays. What we have in mind is something way closer to you than you could imagine! Here we present you some new and very creative tourism practices that can be fun if put into practice.

Letter A as "Adventure" and AITO

AITO, or more specifically Association of Independent Tour Operators, represents more than 120 British independent tour operators. Members that are registered in this association have to follow three main criteria about customer satisfaction: choice, quality and service. These companies are really involved in providing the best possible travelling experience to their customers but still keeping in mind the protection of the environment.

Therefore, AITO members are encouraged to raise awareness about sustainable tourism and all members have to appoint a Sustainable Tourism contact. AITO has invested in a resource available to all members which is intended to encourage, educate and advise on a variety of sustainable issues. The association dedicates a section of its website to sustainable tourism. Here they showcase the projects undertaken by the various members and they also provide guidelines regarding easy actions to adopt when being on holiday to be more respectful towards the environment.

Moreover, AITO has implemented its own corporate ethos establishing high requirements regarding its influence on the environment and relative to communities impacted by its activities, or those of its members. These ethos include respecting local culture, conserve natural resources and minimise pollution

Letter C as "Culture" and Community Empowerment Network

CEN is an organization that has as main goal to empower communities to fight poverty on the social, economic and psychological aspects Without empowerment, donations can’t have the success on which millions of lives count and depend on.

Community Empowerment Network conducts several projects every year that can be illustrated notably by the electrification of a school at Suruaca, in the Amazon region in Brazil ,by means of a solar panel tower. Now, the school benefits from electricity that can power up to 5 computers providing students, teachers and also the whole community, access to a wide range of information. 

The organization is also concerned about CBT (Community Based Tourism) and offers two different tours in Amazonian Brazil for responsible travelers that see tourism as a means to empower communities towards a brighter future. 

Letter G as "Globe Trotter" and Grootbos Foundation

The Grootbos Foundation was established in 2003 with the goal of preserving the environment and transforming communities thanks to ecotourism, enterprise development, education and sport development. The purpose of these actions is to create sustainable livelihoods and active citizenship.

The foundation implements programmes and builds projects to assist the communities according to their needs. Eco tourism, meaning being respectful towards the environment and the communities involved, brings sustainable growth to the people impacted by Grootbos.

Grootbos offers its customer a great stay at a 5 stars accommodation in South Africa, with numerous activities to pick from, all respectful towards the environment. You can visit the foundation's website here and discover all the opportunities it has to offer. If you want to visit their accomodation and have an amazing stay in South Africa, go to this website.

Letter I as "In depth discovery" and International Centre for Responsible Tourism

The ICRT, often referred to as Responsible Tourism, is an organization with its headquarters in the UK which is closely related to Leeds and Manchester Metropolitan Universities. It was established 14 years ago to promote the Cape Town Declaration of 2002 towards responsible tourism in destinations. More than 20 countries and 280 delegates have signed this declaration.

Thanks to its engagement in promoting eco tourism, ICRT has now developed over UK boundaries and is established notably in Australia, West Africa, Cambodia, Belize, Canada and a few other countries. One interesting article on their website could be the one concerning the definition and implications of responsible tourism. http://www.icrtourism.org/what-is-responsible-tourism/ .

Plus, ICRT tries to broaden the horizon of sustainable tourism by dealing with several topics such as supply chain management, volunteer tourism, destination management, corporate social reporting and so on. To read more about the actions undertaken by this organization, visit their website here.

Ecotourism

Letter N as "Nature" and National Geographic Society

Since 1888, this major organization advocates a way of living closer to nature than what it used to be, and still is, in our societies. By promoting Nature with a big N, it places itself as its ambassador. Through several medias, the NGS surprises us by showing unveiled places we have never been to yet. Videos, photography, magazines… everything counts and helps us to immerse into the beautiful and unknown faces of mother nature.

Yet, the organization not only promotes Nature but also works for a better world by launching thousands of projects every year to improve environmental conservation and the living conditions of people that are living in remote places such as Amazonia, central India and so on.

One of the main missions of the National Geographic Society is to promote traveling, sustainability and conservation through the establishment of several grants that are recognized worldwide. Making good use of its eco friendly reputation, it sensibilizes us on ecotourism through various articles exploring several unknown regions, communities and cultures and teaching us how to (re)discover them with a different mindset.

Letter P as "Powerful" and Peek

Peek is disrupting the $100bn+ global activities industry. The platform combines Peek.com, an online marketplace for the best activities, with PeekPro.com, a suite of back-end software tools that power online bookings for activity operators on their own websites. CNBC has labeled Peek the “OpenTable for activities” and the company was named as one of Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel alongside Airbnb and Hotel Tonight.

Whether it’s discovering an underground art scene, swimming with sharks or taking a cooking class, Peek.com and the Peek App offer a one-stop shop for adventures that create lasting memories. Hidden gems come from "Perfect Day" itineraries from tastemakers such as Tory Burch and Wolfgang Puck. Peek offers thousands of activities in over 20 regions in the U.S., as well as in London and Paris.

Peek is also involved in Ecotourism and proves it with the numerous activities it offers such as shark and wild eco tours in Key West, Florida, United States.

Letter R as "Renewables" and Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel connects the world’s best small holiday companies with travellers looking for more for their holiday than just a brief stay. They enable you to connect and book directly with over 400 carefully chosen, small holiday companies, all different and all experts in their fields, and with over 8,000 unique, and often rare, holidays. There is something for everyone, from very relaxing to very active; from group tours with leaders, to private, tailor-made tours.

Responsible Travel believes that small holiday companies are usually run by interesting people who founded them out of a deep love for destinations, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Consequently, they offer a far richer experience than those offered by multinational package companies or hotel booking sites, simply because they are based on knowledge, expertise and passion for people and places that are then infused into every itinerary and experience.

All holiday packages are screened for their commitment to conservation efforts and travelling responsibly within communities. They publish unedited reviews and the grading is extremely tough because they hope each trip will be the best holiday you’ve ever had. Responsible Travel also tries to be a pioneer in responsible tourism – founding and organising the annual World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM and campaigning for change in the tourism industry.

Letter S as "Sustainable" and Sumak Travel

Sumak Sustainable Travel Ltd. is a London-based responsible tour operator / social enterprise working directly with local, community-based tour operators in Latin America. Their mission is to contribute to the empowerment of local communities in Latin America by running an ethical business that provides rewarding experiences for discerning travellers.

Already operating for several years, Sumak Sustainable Travel has acquired a valuable experience in the field of ecotourism, thanks to its focus on Latin America. Through its blog section and particularly the AdventureLust section, you can discover a mindful way of traveling, respectful towards the culture, people and environment.

The partnerships Sumak Travel has built through the years are solid and reliable, as showcased through various testimonies of customers’ previous experiences. By Community-based tourism, Sumak travel aims at empowering rural communities by providing them a fair price for the high-end services offered. The local communities they work with do not want to become touristic entrepreneurs but rather guardians of the Latin culture and its environment.

 Sun Islands (Lago Titicaca) and Brazilian North East projects - Photos credits: Sumak Travel

S as "Satisfaction" and Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa

The Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa, formerly known as the Sustainable Tourism Network Southern Africa (STNSA) is an alliance of sustainable tourism certification stakeholders in Africa, with an initial focus on countries in Southern, East and most recently North Africa.

The Alliance aims to enable an integrated approach to sustainable tourism certification throughout the continent, with its overall objectives being to:

  • Build regional capacity to reduce poverty, improve livelihoods, and promote resource efficiency through sustainable tourism management practices; and
  • Facilitate an integrated approach to sustainable tourism standards settings and certifications that will achieve higher levels of market and development impact, as opposed to certification systems operating in isolation from one another.

The Alliance was established in response to changes in the external environment which is becoming increasingly characterised by trends towards international accreditation, harmonisation, dual certification and mutual recognition between standardsetting organisations.

The Alliance published numerous reports about the actions undertaken, notably this one concerning the impacts of the certification on hotels in the Seychelles achipelago.

Letter V as "Valuable" and Verge Magazine

Verge magazine is a Canadian company that has as its main goal to share quality events, ideas and resources to help people study, work or volunteer abroad in a meaningful way for the environment.

Most of these people will travel in their host country so Verge puts a high esteem in establishing quality standards regarding the way people discover places and act as tourists. To further guide these global citizens, Verge produces the Go Global Expo held in the three biggest cities in Canada: Toronto, Boston and Montréal. This event is considered as the largest work, study, volunteer and travel expo in Canada.

More specifically about ecotourism, you can find interesting information on Verge’s website regarding new ways of perceiving specific regions of the world and being a mindful traveller.