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Ecotourism

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Note that some of these suggestions (e.g. make your trip last longer) may be expensive. For this reason, a section on saving money is included at the end of the article.

Suggestions:

  • Many companies represent themselves as much greener than they really are – remember that this is still marketing. Some companies do an excellent job, however.
  • Beware tokenism. Do something to make a real difference, which means keeping things in perspective.
  • Advice like “Ditch postcards for e-cards”[1] may have some positive impact, but are minuscule compared to the more important decisions in your travel.
  • If your airline, travel agent or tour company offers carbon offset, do some research to ensure it is actually applied, and is effective.
  • Consider traveling less:
  • Travel closer to home, and save money on air travel. Too often we are less familiar with the beauty of our home country and region than are tourists who have traveled far to see it.
  • When planning a longer distance trip, make the most of it. Consider taking longer (perhaps taking leave without pay) and you won't have to take a trip again as quickly.
  • Choose more efficient forms of travel to reach your destination - trains and buses use much less energy and have far lower impact on climate than air travel, and
  • Aim to get something different out of your travels, compared to usual. Give up a little of the modern luxuries, and gain in adventure, experience and connection to the place you're visiting and its people. Exert yourself, walk and cycle, and come back healthier.
  • Choose different forms of travel once you are at your destination.
  • If you would normally hire a vehicle, consider using Public transport when possible (and Taxis when necessary).
  • Cycle. In some locations (e.g. Bangkok – see Cycling in Bangkok) there are many narrow lanes which suit cyclists, as they are usually too narrow for cars and trucks. (Be careful of course - you share such lanes with people who live there, including small children and the elderly.) This can be a great way to see first-hand what real life is like for the majority of the people, and also to meet people outside of the tourist industry - often much friendlier and less money-oriented than those you meet on the tourist trail.
  • Walk more.
  • Hike. Go camping. Climb a mountain to watch the sunrise.
  • Sail. Rather than large engine only boat cruises try sailing adventures. Non-sailors can go on trips with a captain and crew. Experienced sailors can go "bare boat" or self-chartered.
  • In hot climates, waking up early is a great way to walk more. Locals will often stretch their legs close to sunrise. (Beware of Mosquitoes at this time though – Dengue fever mosquitoes may be active at this time.) Avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day. When it's less hot, you'll be more willing to walk short to moderate distances, and will be less likely to want to catch a taxi.

Travel[edit]

See also Business travel (article to be created... note use of trains in Europe for business purposes, and examine the relative impacts of high-speed trains).[Suggested project]


Carbon offset[edit]

One of the biggest impacts of travel is the carbon impact. Carbon offsetsW allow you to pay to reduce your carbon impact by an equivalent amount, e.g. through planting trees or implementing renewable energy in a place that

If your airline, travel agent or tour company offers Carbon offset, do some research to ensure it is actually applied, and is effective.

Remember also that the effect of Air travel is greater than the Carbon emissions would indicate, due to the effect of the emissions at a distance above the earth's surface.[verification needed]


Accommodation[edit]

Hotels are often built in very fragile environments, as they are also beautiful locations - it is important to check this and avoid such hotels.

The use of hotels may (for the above reason or other reasons) have a high negative ecological impact. Alternatives are:

  • Renting a room, and living like a local - suitable for longer term stays, at least a couple of weeks.
  • Hospitality services,W such as CouchSurfing,[2] i.e. staying with a local on a cost-free basis. Saving money in this way may mean being able to spend more on other eco-friendly choices during your trip.

Safety[edit]

Eco-tourism involves some safety issues that travelers should be aware of.

In many countries safety measures are not followed carefully, perhaps due to a lack of law-enforcement, and perhaps in part due to cultural differences, and this applies to riding motorcycles and bicycles. Cultural reasons may include a lack of the Awareness campaigns and enforcement that have led to changed behavior in many Western countries.{fact}) Locals may insist that something is safe (e.g. riding a motorcycle without a helmet) in spite of a shockingly high accident rate.

Be careful to:

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle, especially if sharing a road with motor vehicles. Choosing a lower carbon-impact and healthier form of transport shouldn't mean taking serious risks.
  • Always use the strap on your helmet. Locals may wear a motorcycle helmet to avoid getting in trouble from police, but without the strap.
  • Check the safety record of the transport you're taking. If traveling by plane you can look up the airline on Wikipedia, and look for a section on "incidents" or "safety". If traveling by bus or train, reliable information may be harder to obtain. Bus safety may depend on the roads being traveled, as well as the condition of the bus. Locals may give advice on which bus lines are more likely to drive carefully (the cheapest buses may be more poorly maintained and or driven recklessly to save time). (Are trains much safer than buses?[Suggested project])

Saving money[edit]

Sometimes it's cheaper to take a more indirect route with a budget airline, rather than a direct route with a regular airline. In doing so, be aware of the environmental impact.

For the budget traveler, it might be cheaper to take the less efficient route and pay for carbon offset.


See also[edit]

Interwiki links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Changi Class - Singapore Changi airport magazine, Aug 07
  2. CouchSurfing is the best known of these services and has an active community. Others include Hospitality Club.

External links[edit]