Every year during this season (Christmas and New Year) you come across travel magazines predicting the top travel destinations for the coming year. So, I thought I shall share a travel wish list based on dreams, analytical data in regards to responsible, sustainable tourism opportunities that each place offers.
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Sustainable tourism involves a balance interaction between appropriate use of natural resources and culture, the improvement of the quality of life within local communities, the economic success of the tourist industry which results in overall national development.
Responsible tourism is interchangeably referred to as Ecotourism or Sustainable Tourism.
Costa Rica– As a travel destination, Costa Rica has attracted eco-tourist with its sustainability practices in the form of eco-lodges and reserves throughout the country. You could enjoy breath-taking pristine beaches and sleep under nature’s canopy in remote locations accessible by plane or boat. You can get home cooked food, candlelit meals and spend the day hiking trails that go through volcanoes, waterfalls and spectacular cliffs overlooking the ocean. There are many activities like horse riding, hiking mountainous paths in the cloud forests and guided bird-watching tours.
In the Canopy Tours, you can explore the rain forest canopy’s high-altitude ecosystems. If you want a panoramic view of the tropical forest, you could board an aerial tram which passes through the treetops of a tropical forest. An incredible diversity of small plants and tree frogs, vine snakes and many other bird species can be spotted in this tour.
Costa Rica Tourism Institute aims at achieving the goal of sustainable tourism via the CST (Certificate of Sustainable Tourism) label on a lodging establishment or a tour operator if they meet the criteria. It is a program that categorises and certifies tourism business, with the goal of demonstrating sustainability with their operations.
Wayanad in Kerala– Wayanad, a green paradise is located at a distance of 76kms. from the sea shore of Kozhikode. This hill station full of plantations, forests and wildlife shares a common border with Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Bandipur in Karnataka, India. The nearest railway station is Calicut at 62km.
Wayanad Tourism Organization takes the lead in implementing a culture of ‘responsible and sustainable tourism’ in Wayanad through four trails. Out of these trails, the ‘Outdoor Trail’ covers the following locations- Chembra Peak, Neelimala, Meenmutty waterfalls, Chethalayam, Pakshipathalam and Banasura Sagar Dam. While enjoying these captivating sights, sounds and fragrance here, you could shop for spices, coffee, tea, bamboo products, honey and herbal plants.
Maldives or Republic of Maldives, an island country is situated in the Indian Ocean. It consists of over 1000 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls, along the north-south direction. The atolls consist of live coral reefs and sand bars. Maldivian waters have several ecosystems which are known for colourful coral reefs, over 1000 species of fish, sea turtles, whales and dolphins, and echinoderms. Maldives is among the most beautiful places in the world and also the most endangered site in the world.
Fish are found in an extraordinary range of habitats, from mountain streams to hot springs and at depths below 7,000 meters.
The government of Maldives, people and the tourism industry are jointly helping to protect and prevent it from slipping away as a paradise. In the past decade, the government has implemented the President of Maldives Green Resort Award to recognise the importance of environmental protection to ensure the sustainability of Maldives. This award is given to local resorts who adopt green and sustainable policies in their operations and development. It also motivates the tourist entities to be responsible and engage in eco-tourism.
South Africa or Republic of South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. As soon you hear about a South African holiday, you imagine a safari into a Big Five wildlife reserve but the country has more to offer from beaches, crossing deserts, the richest floral kingdom on earth, fine dining and exotic wines to adventure travel and much more.
Some of the attractions here are Kruger Park, Cape Town, Winelands, Drakensberg, Sun City, Serengeti, Okavango, Serengeti, Pilanesberg and Bazaruto.
Thakadu River Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve is a lodge built, owned and operated by the local community. The project allows the community to attain a sustainable level of competence and facilitate a genuine understanding of the importance of service delivery.
Dominica has untamed rainforest which allows you to trek to a bubbling lake. It is home to the world’s second-largest hot spring, Boiling Lake. An island country in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. The country has many waterfalls, springs and rivers. It is often referred to as ‘The Nature Island of the Caribbean’ with its breath-taking lush, varied flora and fauna in the protected natural park system. Morne Trois Pitons National Park, UNESCO World Heritage site has many attractions like Boiling Lake, the Freshwater Lake, Boeri Lake and Middleham Falls.
People of Dominica value their natural and cultural heritage. Responsible tourism in Dominica is shining beacon among the Caribbean and around the world. They have no international hotels, 3 national parks on this tiny island. Visit the Kalinago Barana Aute Cultural centre, a place to get a sense of human survival on this island, its ancient heritage, cookery or craft, politics or performances, collective farming or fishing.
So, travel to these amazing places this season and be a responsible tourist.
Other related article – Be a responsible tourist
Image source- Maldives