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With more and more travellers sensitive to the ecological demands they are making on their holidays, travelling greener is taking precedence in their minds like never before. But the whole concept of a foreign holiday in an eco friendly way contains some telling paradoxes.
For example, going to Brazil as a tourist to spend time in the Amazon rainforest puts money into the coffers as an alternative to the destructive logging and deforestation which takes place there. But to get there? Long haul flights from across the world, internal flights whilst you are there… doesn’t it defeat the purpose? Well yes and no is the answer.
So perhaps the ultimate act of the eco traveller is, conversely, to not go very far at all. In a bid to see the glories of the world, the glories on your doorstep are often overlooked. So why not at least cut back on foreign holidays and spend some time in your native land, pumping money back into your own economy, lessening your carbon footprint and discovering the delights of your own country too?
If you want to travel abroad, investigate fully the green credentials of your hotel or resort. Today, more and more “eco resorts” are cropping up across the world, where sensitivity to nature and the environment is the key. Conversely, think about the local situation: Spain has been boosted significantly over the past 30 years from foreign tourists- but in a largely arid country with falling rainfalls, think what the mega-hotel with 6 swimming pools is doing to the local infrastructure and water reserves.
Avoid the tourists
This means a good way to travel greener is to avoid the tourist hotspots. Areas heavily dominated by tourism are often at the stretch of their resources, lacking infrastructure of public transport. Cities, therefore, are often the most well suited for eco breaks- with good public transport and resources ploughed into them so your own carbon footprint is lessened.
However, it is the act of getting to the destination which is often the biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses. For the romantically minded (and with a little more time and cash!) why not take a great rail journey - The Trans Siberian railway will take you half way across the world at a fraction of the environmental cost. Generally, the world is well equipped with railways to travel green - and they are great fun too, and an excellent way to see foreign countries. Why not travel overnight in Europe, India or China, for example?
Ultimately, tourists tend to vote with their wallets- but with the price of eco friendly travel coming down all the time, this is a great way to travel the world- and feel good about it at the same time.