Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world. Unfortunately, mass tourism is often fraught with potentially environmentally damaging problems and economics that usually send money spent far away from the communities where tourist destinations are located.
Thankfully, though, more travelers are seeking out environmentally friendly and ethical travel options when they go on vacation. I was happy to see an article in the Christian Science Monitor recently that offers some interesting information on ethical travel. The CS Monitorâ€™s article also has an interview with eco-travel guru Ron Mader, of the Planeta.com website. Hereâ€™s a quote from the article:
“With certification of tourism products, they often emphasize the ‘eco’ rather than social [factors],” says Ron Mader, founder of Planeta.com, a website for dialogue among travelers interested in ethics. “You can go to a very expensive, foreign-owned ecolodge in Costa Rica. Next door could be a not-so-eco but locally owned place. Which is the better option?” Regional and national certification programs, he says, rarely address that.
When I lived in Honduras, Central America, I would always try and seek out small locally owned establishments within the community I was visiting. However, sometimes you just want a little more luxury than perhaps you can get from staying with a family in a small posada. So how do you keep your travel ethical in this case? The article states:
To help would-be ethical travelers find their way in this maze, publishers are offering their own ethical seals of approval in new guidebooks. Lonely Planet, for instance, in May published “Code Green,” an illustrated guide to about 100 “responsible travel experiences” on every continent. In June, Britain-based Earthscan published for US readers “The Ethical Travel Guide,” a global directory of tour companies, hotels, and other operations that benefit local people and preserve their environments. Planeta put out a guidebook electronically this summer describing ethical destinations identified after 12 years of research.
There are more and more travel guides coming out these days with info on making a responsible decision when you travel. The internet is also a great way to do research. Once again, Planeta.com is about your best bet for current info on ethical and eco-friendly travel. Let us know if you have any personal favorite eco-friendly and ethical travel destinations you’d like to recommend.
Have a great eco-friendly vacation!