The Forge

We hear so much about what we should be doing to safeguard the planet, but what exactly is ecotourism and why are sustainable holidays important?

The Huffington Post reports that zero-waste travel and sustainable living are two of the most searched topics on social media site Pinterest. More than 70% of people on Pinterest look for sustainable and eco-friendly ways to travel, which can range from purchasing plastic-free travel toiletries to booking environmentally-friendly hotels with facilities that take the environment into consideration. Sustainable packing has become a trend, too, with travellers preferring reusable items over disposable ones. But why does it matter if we choose ecotourism? Does it truly make a difference? Apart from helping the environment, here are more reasons why sustainable holidays are important:

It helps create more unforgettable memories

Knowing that you’re contributing to the future of the planet can give you a sense of fulfilment. Sustainable living is one way to give back to the environment, not to mention a good opportunity to make sure the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the resources for the next ones. A recent survey by Tui UK & Ireland published on Travel Weekly reveals that more than 60% of holidaymakers feel good about their travels when they know they've helped the local community and the environment. Xavier Font, Professor of Sustainability Marketing at the University of Surrey said, the notion of giving back is fast-becoming the norm and people want to engage with local cultures while on holiday.

It makes you more conscious about your choices

And more mindful about your actions — which is a far cry from how travellers used to be in the past. Choosing environmentally-friendly ways to travel is not easy, especially since most of the things you might need do not have organic or sustainable counterparts just yet. Not very many hotels have switched to provide sustainable services either, so finding one in an area you want to explore might be difficult. These challenges will push you to be more creative and more conscious of the choices you make.

It promotes economic stability

Regular travel and tourism usually return only 20% of the revenue back to the local community, but with ecotourism, 95% of the revenue goes straight back to the community. Being an environmentally conscious traveller is no longer solely about taking care of nature, it’s also about building communities. In some cases, poor communities with high unemployment rates might just find the opportunities they need through ecotourism. Buying locally grown food and crafted goods can also help create a direct economic connection between tourists and locals. Not only is it economically helpful, ecotourism might improve how you relate to society, too, as it can help end cultural ignorance.

It helps you live a healthier life

The Standard believes a more environmentally-friendly life will also lead you to choose a healthier lifestyle. Nature-filled holidays like camping and glamping, encourage you get out and be active. Cycling holidays have started to become more popular, as it’s a great way to explore a country without using fossil fuels and emitting pollution. Mountain climbing, trekking, and hiking are environmentally-friendly holidays. You can even join “hikes for a cause” where you help pick up rubbish while you’re hiking. You can also have your very own private “glamping getaway” at home, especially if you have a spacious garden. Set it up by getting yourself your own log cabin. There are several varieties available on the market for different garden types. The log cabins on Screwfix show how some structures can come with more than one room making them perfect for a garden getaway. Not only is it a more affordable alternative, but it also doesn’t require you to drive or fly anywhere and contribute to the growing global CO2 emissions.

It allows you to care for animals

With ecotourism, humans are encouraged to adjust to local wildlife. Many international eco-friendly retreats are attached to animal conservatories. This provides the opportunity to do some local volunteer work while you’re on a holiday. You can also donate some food or money; whichever is more convenient for you. Some ecotourism benefits specific animals, too. In Rwanda, the price for mountain gorilla trekking permits will cost you more than a thousand US dollars for an hour with the gorillas. Disturbance to the animals is not only kept to a minimum, but the money they raise helps these animals that are on the verge of extinction. Ecotourism can really change the way you live your life in many ways as it helps you realise that everything you do on a daily basis actually has an impact on the environment. Taking an environmentally-friendly holiday is already a huge step. Other small changes you can try to include are purchasing more eco-friendly products and reusable household items as well as choosing natural sources of energy like how The Forge harnesses solar power for room and kitchen lights. Every small step counts when it comes to preserving natural resources for the next generation.

 A  photograph of a glamping pod in a forest with a man on a bicycle in the foreground
Posted: 03.01.19 | Health and wellbeing| Environment

Great glamping set up.. Very well equipped mini bush kitchens, very clean loo. Cosy beds even in subzero temps.. would love to have stayed longer. Great hospitality from Sheena and Jamie trailblazing eco lifestyle...

Maria, Fife, April 2018

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