When one thinks of ecotourism, the deserts of Madagascar or the forests of Colombia may come to mind. Saving turtles on a Malaysian beach or in Costa Rica may also seem appealing to the eco-tourist. However, don’t underestimate the beauty and opportunities Europe offers the eco-conscious traveler.
Ecotourism in Europe
Europe has more than metropolitan cities with long boulevards and churches. There are experiences like hiking the Chianti countryside or cycling along the Norwegian fjords that will not only take your breath away, but you, as a tourist will also be participating in the preservation and conservation of our world.
What is Ecotourism?
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as:
“responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”.
The idea that travel opens the mind and hearts of people is at the core of ecotourism. The goal is to promote greater understanding and appreciation for nature, local society, and culture.
Travel is an enriching experience for both the traveler and the local communities that welcome visitors. In some cases, it can be a saving grace by sharing their culture, helping the local economy, and by raising money to create nature reserves and animal protection programs. Yet for others, however, tourism can become an inconvenience to the local residents by causing traffic jams, overcrowding, increases in housing prices, overbuilding and sometimes, severe damage to the environment.
What can we do?
Local authorities, residents, travel industry workers as well as the tourists themselves need to take active roles in maintaining a sustainable system that will allow us to preserve our world and have the opportunity to share and experience it with others.
Unless you walk to your travel destination, it is unlikely that you will leave a zero carbon footprint. However, what we can do is try to make our vacations as eco-friendly and green as possible.
Ecotourism principles hold nature preservation and education in the highest regard.
As tour operators, we at Verde Natura do everything in our power to educate and inform our travel community by creating memorable experiences for visitors while raising awareness and sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, social climates and customs.
Our bike tours and hiking tours respect local trails and markings and we commit to educating our guests on leaving the local wildlife and plants undisturbed.
Our groups are limited to small numbers in order to minimize the impact on the host community.
Nature reserves and national parks are frequently on our itineraries, which in turn helps sustain local ecological and geological protective programs.
We try to make a difference for both the traveler as well as the community.
We want to help you create a memorable time, make friends and see the destination with a unique, authentic view.
Ecotourism in not just about nature; it’s about being an active member of a global community that wants to preserve and protect our world.
We don’t want you to just visit a beautiful place, we want you to experience it.
Article by Celia Abernethy