Humanity is currently living in an era of global warming, air and water pollution, plastic waste and a growing number of endangered animal and plant species. Many of these consequences are related to human behavior, especially in regards to pollution levels, which have more recently been linked to severe symptoms of COVID-19. Now in this time of reflection, more than ever, we are rethinking how we carry out our day-to-day activities in a sustainable way.
In the spirit of this change in mindset, sustainable tourism is expected to grow even stronger now that we have realized that we should be kinder to our planet. Sustainable tourism is a responsible and non-damaging way of traveling that has the intention of leaving no negative trace behind on the destination.
To feed your sustainable tourism wanderlust, we’ve put together a list of top destinations for sustainable tourism that you should visit once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Let’s take a closer look.
Did you know that in 2017, National Geographic named Slovenia the most sustainable country on Earth? In addition, it’s capital Ljubljana was named Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2016 by the European Union.
Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe which invests energy, capital and strategic planning into sustainable tourism and eco-traveling.
It’s the home of stunning mountains, lakes, springs, and coastline on the Adriatic Sea, but the jaw-dropping nature is not the only thing they can brag about.
Here are just some of the other things that they can be proud of:
they introduced The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, to carry out sustainable tourism measures on the national level
they have more than 40 parks and reserves that are the natural habitat for 20,000 animal and plant species
they have invested in waste separation, natural sources of energy, as well as reducing traffic pollution
You can visit Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, Ljubljana, Laško, Nova Gorica and hundreds of other green destinations in Slovenia and enjoy being a part of their sustainable tourism story.
The Scandinavian country of Sweden is yet another sustainable tourism destination you should visit.
“The homeland of Greta Thunberg, one of the most prominent contemporary environmental activists, Sweden is among the world leaders in sustainability. They advocate responsible living and tourism, motivating people to find a balance between their lives and nature” says Helene Cue, a travel guide and writer at Supreme Dissertations.
The country has focused its sustainable tourism strategy on:
renewable energy sources
low carbon dioxide emissions
eco-friendly transportation options with the goal of going fully electric by 2030
Second-largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg, has been named the world’s most sustainable city four times in a row by The Global Destination Sustainability Index.
Costa Rica is the country of rain forests, volcanoes, stunning beaches and rich biodiversity. This Central American country has been focused on sustainability and nature preservation for years.
Costa Rica’s sustainability is admirable:
around 93% of its electricity comes from renewable resources
approx. 30% of the territory is conserved and protected
it is home to around 5% of the planet’s total biodiversity
pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2021
Costa Rica designed the Certification for Sustainable Tourism, scoring businesses from 0 to 5 based on their compliance to their sustainability model
The country is working its way up to becoming a leader in sustainable tourism and making our planet a better place.
If you’re looking for a tropical sustainable destination that puts nature first, Palau is the next country you should consider visiting.
A part of the Micronesia region in the Pacific Ocean, this island country is fighting for sustainability and environmental responsibility.
The biodiversity will sweep you off your feet, once you see all the coral reefs, jungles, marine lakes and an extraordinary ecosystem.
The government of Palau realizes the importance of tourism for their economic survival, but prevents tourism from ruining the local biodiversity:
you pay a sustainability fee upon entering the country and make a sustainability pledge
resorts cook with local food and invest back into the community
They even went so far as banning sunscreen that is toxic to coral reefs.
It has been named numerous times as one of the best countries to live in with the highest standards of living and the happiest people.
As their official tourism slogan states, the country is “powered by nature”.
The natural beauties of Norway are unique to the country. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of their fjords, mountain ranges, glaciers and waterfalls.
Determined to preserve their nature, they’ve created a “Sustainable Destination” stamp, assigned to local destinations that:
ensure the tourism footprint is low
invest in local communities
take part in preservation
protect the cultural heritage
The destinations that earned the status of Sustainable Destinations include Femund Engerdal, Geilo, the Golden Road, the Lillehammer region, Røros, Trysil, and many more.
You’ll be able to enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking, and enjoy the natural beauties and scenery at the same time.
Even though booking a vacation in the coming months might not be your first priority due to COVID uncertainty, keep these destinations in mind once travel picks up again. Now is the time to dream, research and plan for the places that you would like to add to your sustainable travel bucket list.
While these destinations have already taken big steps towards sustainability, remember that sustainability starts with you. Traveling sustainably isn’t just about the destination, but also how you act and consume and spend your tourist dollars. If you pack environmentally conscious items and choose sustainable accomodations and experiences, then no matter where you travel, you will be helping take care of our planet.
Estelle Liotard is a travel enthusiast, philanthropist, and freelance writer. Her pursuit of adventure has taken her to dozens of exciting locations all over the world. She uses her passion for writing and her knowledge of foreign languages to share her experiences with the rest of the world. She works as an editor at Best Essay Education and as a senior writer at GrabMyEssay. She is also a regular blog contributor at 3 to 5 Marketing.
Looking to begin your sustainability journey and increase savings post-COVID? Check out our guide for tips. Sustainable tourism is expected to continue to grow in a post-COVID world.
Sustainable tourism is a responsible and non-damaging way of traveling that
has the intention of leaving no negative trace behind on the destination.
To feed your sustainable tourism wanderlust, we’ve put together a list of
top destinations for sustainable tourism that you should visit once the
COVID-19 pandemic is over. Let’s take a closer look.Read MoreSustainable Living, Destination NewsBlog – Sea Going Green