Eco travel and tourism have been increasing in popularity over the past few years, and for great reasons. There are some countries and destinations, however, which have really stepped up their efforts when it comes to preserving and protecting their natural habitats and environment, not only for the good of visitors and locals but for the good of our planet.
The tourism industry produces 5% of the world’s total carbon emissions, but the $1.5 trillion which is made each year is vital for the travel industry. When travelling, ensuring economic development, stability and the conservation of both cultural and natural heritage is a given when you are exploring any destination.
If you want to travel with a guilt-free conscience, then here are 5 eco-friendly destinations which you need to visit in 2020.
Over the past 5 years or so, Iceland has continued to hold its position as one of the most environmentally-conscious countries in the world. Iceland has made it a priority to make the most of the natural geothermal resources for electricity and heat production, fighting against ocean pollution and enabling sustainable fishing practices. Reykjavik is a great place to use as a base if you want to explore the country, as Iceland is well known for its natural hot springs, fjords, Northern Lights, volcanoes and glacier hiking.
New Zealand is a country on a quest to be completely free from using fossil fuels by the year 2025 and the country is working to better utilise its geothermal energy sources. New Zealand is made up of two islands, both incredibly diverse in landscape, wildlife and ecosystems. Eco-friendly travel is something which is quite synonymous with New Zealand as there are huge opportunities to experience unique natural wonders around the islands, such as whale and dolphin watching, ancient forests and glowworm caves.
The Republic of Palau is a collection of over 200 volcanic and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. If you’ve ever dreamt of visiting a tropical island, then you absolutely must visit Palau. The waters surrounding the islands are clear blue and full of unique and exotic marine life.
The islands are covered with pristine beaches and beautiful, tropical forests. Palau is wholly dedicated to encouraging sustainable and responsible tourism practices and protecting its coral reefs, which are exclusive no-fishing zones. Diving around the islands is one of the biggest tourist attractions, including the famous Jellyfish Lake.
Commonly associated with pristine beaches and golfing, Portugal isn’t somewhere you would usually associate with eco-friendly travel. However, eco-friendly travel is something which goes hand in hand with relaxing holidays and, whilst other countries have achieved more in terms of green laws, rules and regulations, Portugal is one of the countries which have managed to achieve a significant reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions.
Portugal is a very laidback and relaxing place to visit, particularly if you want to switch off from day-to-day stresses. It’s easy to be more eco-friendly and sustainable in Portugal, whether you’re buying local fresh fruit, veggies and meat from markets or just reducing the quantity of waste accumulated in your luxury Algarve villa, the way of life has a way of instantly making you more aware.
Known for its stunning views, Slovenia is a country that shares a border with the Italian Alps and is extremely overlooked as a tourist destination. However, when it comes to sustainability, Slovenia relies on getting around 75% of its electricity from hydro-electric dams and is perhaps one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world.
Its capital city, Ljubljana, was voted the European Green Capital in 2016 and the city buses run on natural gasses. Slovenia also has urban electric trains and with 46% of the land within the city boundary, Ljubljana is an eco-tourist’s dream. Whether you go swimming with sea turtles, learn more about the country’s cocoa, coffee and banana productions and mountain hiking, there’s plenty to do in Slovenia.
Written by Natalie Wilson
About the Author
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer with a particular focus on sustainability and eco-friendly living. Whether you’re looking for a new meditation method or some facts on plastic pollution, she’s your girl! When not writing, Natalie can be found heading to the gym or walking her dog. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.
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