Ecotourism probably conjures for you images of nature trekking, sleeping in a treehouse, or white water rafting down a protected forest. These are certainly examples of ecotourism or ‘green travel.’
These activities, and others like it, are enjoyed by thousands of tourists every year. After all, these definitely provide a break from your everyday routine! What exactly is green travel, though, and why should you consider it?
Green travel, defined
Much like other catchphrases, ‘green travel’ is cropping up in more articles and promotional materials these days. Just like ecotourism, sustainable travel, and responsible travel, ‘green travel’ basically points toward a mindset of conservation for the environment. There are nuances among these words, but they basically mean protecting local flora and fauna, respecting native cultures, and making a positive impact on the community.
Since there are countless people traveling the globe every year, and with the threat of climate change looming over everyone’s heads, it is important for people to look for ways to adapt their lifestyle to fit environmental realities. If not, tourist destinations face a future of beach erosion, destroyed ecosystems, and the destruction of their livelihoods.
Choosing green accommodations
If you’d like to ease into ecotourism, you can go for a sustainable villa or an environmentally friendly hotel. Choose a place that has sustainable living at its core. If you want a modern space, look for features such as solar panel grids and other sources of renewable energy.
You should also stay in places designed to make the most of natural ventilation and lighting. Of course, it’s nice to stay at a place that walks the talk; see if there are pockets of green in the resort or villa. If the place is advertising itself as eco-friendly, there should be at least some plants or trees dotting the premises!
Being a responsible green tourist
It is not enough that you choose an eco-friendly hotel. Some things you can do to be a green tourist are to conserve water and energy. Keep showers short, turn off the faucet when brushing teeth, and unplug electronic devices and appliances when not in use.
You should also reuse your towels and sheets, especially if they are not heavily soiled. Hang your items neatly and inform housekeeping that you prefer not to have them changed every day.
You can also bring your own toiletries and drinking cup, to further minimize waste production. If the hotel has a recycling program, follow it during your stay. If not, consider writing or speaking to management about the possibility of adopting one in the future.
Maintaining a light tourist footprint
One way to keep your favorite tourist destinations clean is by reducing your impact. Choose small group tours led by locals. During hikes, stay on marked trails and keep your distance from wild animals.
Furthermore, you should only camp in designated areas and bring your trash with you when you leave. For water activities, the same rules of minimal contact apply. Snorkel without touching the coral or stirring up sediment, and choose a reef-safe sunscreen.
One thing that deters newcomers to ecotourism is the loss of creature comforts. Sure, there are travelers who go out of their way and seek green experiences. However, most people wouldn’t know what to look for when searching for ecotourist hotels. Fortunately, you don’t have to stay in the jungles or go off-the-grid to be a green traveler. With the suggestions in this article, you can surely dip your toes in it today!
If you’re looking for green accommodations in Phuket, choose Riverhouse. Our villas have state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facilities that offer both tranquility and sustainability, and we were Highly Commended for housing design and development in the 2019 PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards. Contact us today to learn more.