As the world is becoming more and more environmentally conscience, the tourism industry needs to step up to the challenge. Many travelers are drawn to properties that recognize the importance of living sustainably. According to the International Ecotourism Society (TIES), although ecotourism is a new concept, it is growing three times faster than the entire tourism industry. According to a TripAdvisor survey, the ‘green’ travel trend is gaining momentum among TripAdvisor members, as 71% said they plan to make more eco-friendly choices in the next 12 months compared to 65% that did so in the past 12 months.
Experiential Eco-friendly Fun
Experiential tourism which encompasses ecotourism, nature, heritage, cultural, soft adventure tourism, rural and community tourism is expected to grow most quickly during the coming two decades. It involves active participation by travelers in the experience and promotes activities that draw people outdoors, and into cultures and communities. This form of sustainable tourism is more customized and calls for memorable experiences. Taking guests along hiking trails where they can discover your country’s natural beauty or offering guided bike tours are popular “green” packages that draw in local cultural with a small carbon footprint. Non-motorized water activities (that do not consume gasoline) are great sustainable ways to enjoy your waterways and beaches. Kayaks, paddleboards and small sailboats will occupy guests for longer than a half-hour jet ski ride, they help your guests stay fit and physically active, and give them a broader view of the destination.
Collaborate with local farmers and growers to get fresh locally grown produce. Inform your guests that their meals are farmed locally ensuring them that they are traveling sustainably as well as stimulating the local economy. Give them the opportunity to visit these farms, so that they can see for themselves where their food is coming from. An additional bonus would be to allow them to pick their own fruits and vegetables from an organic garden. Furthermore, provide a cooking class in which they will learn local recipes using the foods they have picked. Whenever guests make that dish in the future, they will always think back to that experience.
Luxury vs. Ecotourism
Ecotourism does not have to come at the price of luxury. Why choose one when you can have both? There are many ways to conserve the environment while still being pampered, especially when it comes to the spa experience. Preserving natural light, maintaining a well preserved landscape and providing clear views of your property conserve energy as well as add a more luxurious feel.
Keeping packages and tours small in order to ensure quality of service and comfort, and the company’s strong ties with local communities mean that the visitors will have “exclusive” hands-on experiences such as traditional crafts making, local festivals and customs, and cooking, as well as tasting, local specialties.