Vacation Getaway: Relax and Participate in Activities that Promote Sustainability
Sustainability implies duration, and sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society and economy of your vacation getaway.
Tourism is a major source of income for many countries, and options for sustainable tourism include nature- oriented tourism, ecotourism and cultural tourism.
What is a Sustainable Vacation Getaway?
The aim of sustainable tourism for vacation getaways is to maximize opportunities such as job creation, foreign exchange earnings and new infrastructure, while safeguarding the cultural heritage and minimizing negative environmental and social impacts. For example, bike riding in a foreign country is a better option that riding in a car, bus or train.
To delve a little further, ecotourism is sustainable tourism to relatively undisturbed natural areas, mainly for the purpose of admiring them, learning more about their habitats, and taking the opportunities to help sustain the local culture.
Although the concept of sustainable vacation getaways is relatively new, it has spread rapidly throughout the world. The most popular ecotourism destinations are spread around the world and include places in Central and South America, Canada, the USA, Antarctica, Australia, and now increasingly, Africa. For example, in the case of Kenya, tourism plays a hugely significant role in the country’s economy, and contributes to approximately 25% of the country’s GDP. Sustainable tourism in the form of wildlife tourism to Kenya’s numerous National Parks and Reserves represents a substantial part of this, with around 70% of tourism revenue in Kenya coming from wildlife tourism.
Question: For those of us willing to engage in responsible vacation getaways, what are the things to do and places to see?
Answer: Good question; these include:
Wilderness Adventures: Hiking or trekking through places like national parks.
Wildlife Viewing: There are thousands of different tours around the world that make it possible for people to view local wildlife. This can be in the form of whale watching, bird watching, turtle watching, or even gorilla watching.
Personal Growth Trips: Think about ecotourism retreats and centers, such as holistic centers or yoga-themed tours that encourage new ways to live and explore, all of which contribute to and support personal growth.
Others: These include kayaking, sailing, horseback riding, and back-country skiing, all of which come under ecotourism.
Most importantly, for the purpose of giving something back on your vacation getaway, there are numerous vacations that are work-related, where you have the opportunity to become part of the local culture, and help build homes, or community gardens, or teach and educate indigenous people how to live sustainably and economically.
There are so many ways in which to contribute to countries and people who need our help in learning how to live sustainably, and it’s our responsibility to help them – we, who have so much. You can have fun, contribute, see the sights and enjoy the ride while participating in activities that promote sustainability at the same time.
There are vacation getaways that are tailored specifically for this purpose – to become a part of the community and help them, especially underdeveloped nations, learn how to survive in the current economy. Drought is a huge problem in some of these countries, and we can teach them how to survive in the midst of this dilemma.
With a better understanding of the options available, we can begin to explore specific destinations. For those wanting to do something truly different for your vacation getaway this year, think about some of these places well known for promoting sustainable tourism through the packages they offer. The top destinations include:
Places to Visit on your Getaway
The Norwegian Fjords: where people can go hiking and biking;
Costa Rica: at the top of the list for ecotourism. Outdoor activities for active travelers and nature enthusiasts are innumerable. An exquisite array of creatures are visible including monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, jaguars, sea turtles and poison dart frogs, living in Costa Rica’s national parks;
Palau: is located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia. It is recognized as one of the world’s best diving destinations. The crystal clear sea is just off the coast and features a colorful underwater wonderland with more than 1,400 kinds of fish. For those who don’t like water, by all means remain on terra firma, and wander along unspoiled beaches or go trekking through dense jungles.
Kenya: an up and coming destination is known for its wide savannas full of lions and elephants, but many don’t know that the country is also home to mountains, lakes, rainforests, deserts and beaches, each with its own ecosystem and wildlife.
Kenya’s beautiful natural diversity is protected by about 50 national parks and reserves across the country. On the coast, travelers can walk down pristine white beaches or go diving along colorful coral reefs;
Madagascar: located off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is the world’s fifth largest island. Four out of the five species of plants and animals are endemic, making Madagascar one of the seventeen most diversified countries in the world. The island is home to lush rainforests, tropical forests, and deserts. With 5,600 km of coastline, its coastal areas are among the richest and most diversified, with coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries, and marshes. In addition, 2,300 plants are used for medicinal purposes, 90% of which have not been commercialized. These medicinal plants are a potential source of great income and scientific advancement.
For those who are serious about promoting travel and tourism that are sustainable, it’s important to take the time and effort to research the possibilities. Call, write or google regarding any questions you may have in order to make sure the vacation spot is a good fit, not just for the sake of sustainability, but also for your personal desired outcome.
It’s true that traveling closer to home will leave a smaller footprint than traveling around the world; opportunities for ecotourism exist across the globe, so it’s possible to take a vacation getaway in an eco-responsible manner anywhere you choose. The important thing is to be aware of participating in tourism that’s sustainable. By visiting countries that are underdeveloped or struggling, your dollars will make a big difference. It’s a win-win formula for us all, and the planet too!
For more information on sustainable vacation getaways, visit healestate.com. We are the resource for all of your sustainable living needs.