Beyond Green Travel is a blog written by Global Travel Editor Costas Christ
Photo courtesy of Black Sheep Inn
Over the last 12 months, a lot of progress has been made in sustainable travel: The World Travel & Tourism Council has issued a ten-point action plan to combat climate change; four international airlines have tested their first bio-fuel supported flights; the United Nations Foundation has launched the world’s first set of Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria; and Americans have elected their first president who equates going green with economic growth. It is tempting to think that, if it were not for the economic recession, we would be entering the Golden Age of sustainable tourism right about now. But here’s another thought: Maybe we already have?
Gone are the days when environmentally and socially responsible practices were the hallmark of just a few jungle lodges and safari operators. Today, we have reached a tipping point where sustainable tourism practices are being more widely accepted across the full spectrum of the global travel industry. (Who would have imagined that Marriott Corporation, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, would be spearheading the protection of 1.4 million acres of Amazon rain forest, or testifying before the U.S. Government to gain support for biodiversity conservation—they are doing both.) The very term “ecotourism”—which was originally coined to describe conservation-minded mom and pop lodges before it was applied to $500-a-night jungle resorts—has also come full circle. Small outfitters are again setting the pace for tourism done right. So, when contemplating whether to shelve your travel plans until the stock market picks up, consider this: Your dollars will stretch farther today, and do more good, than ever before.
Here's a sampling of four places on four continents, that are committed to the Earth, to benefiting local communities, and to offering more affordable travel. See the list >>