Sustainable tourism is growing in popularity

Sustainable Tourism Ideas For the Eco Traveller

From supporting communities and their businesses through accommodation and activity providers to participating in volunteerism such as beach clean-ups and nature trail repopulating, travellers can adapt their trips to contribute to responsible initiatives in a way that works best for them.

There are a growing number of great sustainable tourism opportunities across the world. Some are well known, such as WWOOF’ing. But there are more and more initiatives designed to bring in that tourist dollar, while also helping you have fun and experience travel differently.

We’ve taken a look at some cool looking new sustainable tourism opportunities in the USA, Japan, Europe and the Pacific.

USA

Volunteer with The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Greater Palm Springs

The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission welcomes volunteers to work to support and empower those experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and life challenges in Greater Palm Springs. The desert charity serves those in need and in transition through self-sufficiency and recovery programmes and the provision of necessary supplies. Walk-in volunteers for kitchen prep and service are welcome, as well as roles to sort and price in the charities’ thrift store. There are also opportunities to serve food during celebratory holidays and special events such as the Fourth of July and Easter, ensuring a chance for those less fortunate to enjoy joyful days and for visitors to connect with citizens. www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

Voluntourism in Yosemite Mariposa County, California

Those visiting Yosemite National Park can both enjoy the wonders it has to offer in tandem with giving back through Voluntourism. There are a number of ways for travellers to get involved during their trip to Yosemite National Park in 2022 from half-day to five-day options. Award-winning programmes managed by organisations include Yosemite Conservancy (a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Yosemite’s resources and providing enriching visitor experiences in the park), Yosemite Facelift (an annual volunteer clean-up event) and more. Yosemite Facelift is an annual volunteer clean-up event taking place from 21-25 September 2022 both in Yosemite and virtually. The objective of Facelift is to encourage individuals to pick up litter and engage in service projects on public lands safely. www.yosemite.com

Go thrift shopping to support HIV care, West Hollywood

Known for its connection to music, entertainment, fashion and culture, swap shopping for thrifting in one of LA’s favourite spots and support local charities. The Design District of West Hollywood is a mecca for shopping and style however thrifting in the area is the way forward for saving money, reducing waste and contributing to crucial organisations. Out of the Closet is a popular thrift store on Santa Monica Boulevard with everything from clothing to books and furniture. Here, every 96 cents of a dollar goes directly to HIV care and services by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. www.visitwesthollywood.com

Keep Collier beautiful for visitors and locals, Florida’s Paradise Coast

Keep Collier Beautiful is a non-profit educational organisation to improve waste practices in Collier County, Florida’s Paradise Coast. Benefitting visitors, locals, wildlife and the environment, properly disposing of waste ensures the protection of the natural beauty of the coast and the health of all life there. Tourists can get involved with litter and marine debris clean-ups, recycling and educational programmes. There is also a Community Wildlife Habitat team encouraging gardening for wildlife and other programmes. Take part in one of the many beach cleans to do something positive for the area, whilst enjoying the scenery and sun of the coast in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. Florida’s Paradise Coast

Visit Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork initiative 

Farm-to-fork isn’t a passing fad or a marketing slogan in the Sacramento region – it’s the way locals and therefore visitors to the region live. Sacramento has been an agricultural powerhouse for more than a century, boasting a year-round growing season, ideal climate and a mouth-watering bounty of crops. The farm-to-fork initiative encourages visitors to eat locally in turn supporting the local economy. www.visitsacramento.com

Preserve nature trails in Breckenridge, Colorado 

Eco tourism is helping in Colorado

With endless open spaces and natural wonders, Colorado takes the preservation of its landmarks seriously. The state is home to 58 mountains with peaks at least 14,000 feet above sea level, which is more than any other state. It’s important, now more than ever, that the community works together to help preservation. Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is a nonprofit, volunteer organisation that helps restore and maintain the many mountain trails and fragile plant life. Volunteers can expect a three-day trail build where they’ll camp beneath the stars and repopulate the bare trails with seeds from native wildflowers. www.colorado.com

Protect the whales, Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s Puget Sound is home to numerous whale species and there are many initiatives to protect them which visitors to the city can get involved in. With the Orca Network, travellers can join the Whale Sighting and Education Project where observation and awareness is encouraged through reporting the sightings of the species to help protect and restore their natural habitats. Travellers can also donate to preserve the safety of whales and their habitats. Visitseattle.org

Europe

Eco-boating with Click&Boat

Click&Boat, the leader in boat rentals, works with many boat owners who put an emphasis on sustainability credentials. Respect for the environment, waste management, wise use of fuel and responsible behaviour: each user can follow clear methods for a greener boating experience. Philippe Baudet is the owner of an electric hybrid Neel 51 called Make Sense, available to rent with Click&Boat. This trimaran is equipped with electric motors to reduce its carbon footprint. It has many eco-credentials including optimum performance and savings.  www.clickandboat.com/uk/ 

Japan 

Tour with locals to contribute to traditional communities, Japan

Cycling tours in Japan is part of a growing sustainable tourism trend

Learn about traditional Japanese culture and the coexistence with natural environments while contributing to local economies. Exploring with a resident can offer visitors untold stories and lessons about the regions, while the locals can consciously guide tourists, educate them and benefit from their visit. The residents around the active Mount Aso, a UNESCO Global Geopark, have long-lived a life focused on the preservation of their villages. Here tourists can join a responsible tour to discover the largest active Volcano in the country while also learning of their Satoyama culture and trying traditional locally sourced food. On the mainland, go on a cycling tour in Hida to explore the sustainable way of life the farming village leads, far from mass production and overfarming. www.japan.travel/en/uk/

Kominka House Revival in Kyushu 

Part of Japan’s eco-initiatives is the transformation of kominka houses into guesthouses, cafes, restaurants and community spaces. A traditional Japanese farmhouse built in a distinctive and nostalgic style, kominka are incredible glimpses into authentic Japan, offering an insight into nostalgic Japanese day-to-day life. Restoring kominka for commercial use infuses rural areas with new energy by appealing to visitors as a sustainable option. www.visit-kyushu.com 

Support local communities along the Michinoku Coastal Trail, Hachinohe, Japan 

The recently rebuilt Michinoku Coastal Trail – which connects the city of Hachinohe with Soma in Fukushima – is a great way to support the recovery of the Tohoku region from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The local community has worked tirelessly to generate vital income and restore the region to its former glory. Hugging the coast, the trail includes hidden Shinto shrines, forests and wildflower meadows along 1,000 picturesque kilometres. Stay in one of the many welcoming guest houses along the way for a glimpse of local life while directly supporting local families. www.visithachinohe.com/en 

The Islands of Tahiti

Adopt a coral in The Islands of Tahiti

Approximately only 45% of the world’s reefs are regarded as being relatively healthy, with the remainder being threatened by pollution and climate change. Coral reefs regulate global climate, protect coasts against storms and provide the habitat for about 25% of marine life. Adopting a coral is a tangible way to make a difference to help keep marine life alive. Visitors can join the Coral Gardener programme, adopt a coral and plant it back into its natural environment. Those who participate in the programme can personally name the coral and will receive a certificate with the adopted coral’s GPS sea coordinates. www.tahititourisme.uk

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