I will pretty much go anywhere, but lately I’ve been searching for destinations that share my same desire to promote sustainable tourism. While most locations want to preserve their monuments and animal life, some countries tend to be better about it than others. The truth is, as our world changes more and more because of climate change and globalization, it’s important to promote these places as good examples of how we should treat our world.
This list might seem Euro-centric, but the truth is that Europe is the leader in trying to promote sustainability as an ideal. While it is catching on in other spots, such as Australia and New Zealand, many nations have yet to make steps toward creating better transportation methods and encouraging eco-friendly behavior. However, with more education, it’s likely we will start to see more destinations working toward a brighter future.
Here are my top 5 favorite sustainable travel spots that are working to maintain their culture and wildlife.
Tiny Slovenia has paved the way for many locations looking to improve living conditions. For many of its citizens, this comes pretty naturally. Most love the outdoors and Ljubljana has worked hard to offer public transportation options running on electricity. It’s also the first city claiming that it is working toward a “zero-waste” policy.
Slovenia also requires that all of its national parks (and even theme parks) adhere to green standards. All this has kept the alpine areas pristine and the city free from pollution.
After just returning home from Kenya, I can attest to the work that has gone into protecting the local wildlife. Kenya is a country filled with national reserves—there’s even one right outside the capital city of Nairobi. Hotels are looking into using natural resources for energy, and there have been a number of government-sponsored initiatives dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism.
Along with its strict laws against poaching, Kenya has shown that nature and humans can live together in harmony under the right conditions.
There’s a reason that Iceland is a favorite among nature lovers. The capital city of Reykjavik runs almost completely on geothermal energy, meaning it releases almost no carbon emissions. While many countries might have struggled adjusting to such an influx of visitors, Iceland has taken it in stride by offering other transportation options rather than driving.
It’s no wonder that Iceland remains so beautiful—both the local people and the government work hard to keep it a beautiful place for future visitors.
Another haven for nature nuts, Norway has always been environmentally inclined. Conservation efforts are required for all citizens of Norway, and regular trash days keep towns clean from plastic. It also has one of the largest number of sustainable towns of any country in the world.
Sustainable Norway 2015 has also gone a long way toward educating its locals on the efforts they can make toward keeping Norway beautiful.
Lisbon wasn’t my favorite city, but I loved how the entire country of Portugal was working toward creating eco-friendly infrastructure. As it becomes more and more popular with tourists, Portugal is also working to educate visitors on how they can be more informed on their vacations to sustainable practices.
After winning the European Sustainable Tourism Award in 2016, it is by far the most improved country within the past few years toward a more responsible future.
What are your favorite sustainable destinations that you have visited?