Best destinations for sustainable stays in 2022
New Delhi, June 5 (IANSlife): Celebrated by millions of people around the world, World Environment Day aims to raise awareness and encourage action for the protection of the environment. And while one can practice sustainability in multiple aspects of one’s life, travel sustainability can be a traveler’s top priority, especially with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the resumption of travel.
On this World Environment Day, Booking.com has compiled a list of destinations around the world with the highest percentages of sustainable travel properties on their platform. The Travel Sustainable badge recognizes the impactful efforts that properties around the world are making to help protect the planet and contribute positively to their local communities.
From forward-thinking cities to stunning natural parks and destinations making a concerted effort to manage their travel volumes more consciously, there’s plenty of inspiration for the 94% of Indian travelers who say sustainable travel is important to them. – no matter where your sense of adventure and exploration might take you.
Hoedspruit, South Africa
Nestled beneath the majestic Northern Drakensberg Mountains, the picturesque town of Hoedspruit is surrounded by the largest private conservation area in the world. The town is located in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, where the local community participates in several recycling and conservation initiatives and showcases local produce at the Lekker Farmer’s Market to support the surrounding region. . Known as one of the best places for a safari in South Africa, visitors can immerse themselves in the beautiful surroundings as they respectfully observe the incredible wildlife in their natural habitat.
To witness the town’s admirable work in animal protection, visitors can spend time – and contribute – to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
Spread across fourteen islands, Stockholm is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most environmentally friendly cities and celebrated as an international role model for climate action, having taken multiple steps to ensure a net positive impact. The Swedish capital uses renewable energy sources and recycles 99% of the city’s solid waste. It also has some of the cleanest and tastiest tap water in the world, so there’s no need to buy bottled water.
Since the city is relatively compact, there are options for exploring it in a more sustainable way, with an excellent public transport system and many sights within walking distance. The city offers a community bike program that allows people to rent one of over 1,000 bikes scattered around Stockholm. Visitors can also explore the city from the water: an evening kayaking tour of the city offers the unique experience of paddling Stockholm’s waterways to admire the architecture and landmarks, ending with a traditional Swedish meal.
Known as the safari capital of Tanzania and a wonderful stopover for avid trekkers heading to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Arusha sits exactly halfway between Cairo and Cape Town. With the breathtaking dormant volcano of Mount Meru as a backdrop, Arusha is easily explored on foot and is known for its environmental efforts such as tree planting initiatives, sustainable agricultural volunteer programs and a clean water that visitors to the area can support.
The East African city is also known for its monumental clock tower and various cultural tourism programs on offer, including a visit to the Olpopongi Maasai Cultural Village and Museum where visitors can experience first-hand the local Maasai culture. It’s an ideal way to learn about and connect with the local community – perfect for the 69% of Indian travelers who say they want authentic experiences representative of the local culture when they travel.
Merzouga is a charming little village in southeastern Morocco, located near the beautiful Erg Chebbi desert, known for its magical sand dunes and great wildlife. Visitors can hike to nearby ancient Berber villages that still act as oases in the vast desert to immerse themselves in local history and culture.
For early risers, the desert at dawn offers stunning views of the sunrise, and those on the two-hour Erg Chebbi sunset dunes walk will experience twilight hues just as transcendent crossing the dramatic landscape at sunset. Morocco itself is a leading destination in terms of environmental commitments, with a sustainable development model and targets for a 100% renewable energy source by 2050.
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina
Located where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet, Puerto Iguazú is home to the magnificent Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and voted one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. With 275 waterfalls, the most famous and arguably the most stunning is the semi-circular Devil’s Throat, over 82 meters high and located in the very heart of the national park. For those wishing to explore with minimal impact, the lush landscape can be reached on foot via the many hiking trails, or accessible by the eco-train that winds through the jungle.
Visitors can observe wildlife in the surrounding rainforest; with more than a thousand different animal and plant species, it is part of a larger ecosystem that crosses most of Latin America. To help preserve biodiversity and protect the park, as well as the local community, the hospitality sector has launched several initiatives, including litter and street cleaning, to ensure that tourist numbers do not negatively affect the area. and the people who live there.
An idyllic tropical island destination, Boracay is the essence of Instagram dreams. With no less than 17 stunning beaches and coves, including the magnificent 4km-long White Beach, visitors have pristine stretches of sand and sea to surf, kitesurf and snorkel, or simply relax. and enjoy the sun. Things haven’t always been so dreamy for Boracay: in the past, the island made the difficult decision to close to visitors for six months due to the negative impact of too many tourists.
After refocusing its efforts and allowing the island’s ecosystems to begin to recover, Boracay is once again welcoming visitors responsibly, managing volumes with a daily tourist limit. The island has also implemented an array of sustainable ecotourism practices, including the adoption of electric tricycles, and now relies on solar power as its main source of energy, seeking to ensure a long and healthy.
Villa de Leyva, Colombia
Located northeast of Bogotá, the Colombian capital, the charming town of Villa de Leyva is known for its rich history and traditional whitewashed architecture. At the heart of the city is the magnificent Plaza Mayor, home to the town hall, museums, hotels and shopping passages allowing visitors to explore and support the work of local artisans. Visitors should consider timing their trip to coincide with the annual tree festival, Festival del Arbol, held in October to celebrate the natural wonders the city has to offer. A celebration of the region’s native plants, the festivities include everything from talks on conservation and sustainable tourism to performances by local musicians.
Given its warm and welcoming atmosphere, historic canal houses, cozy cafes and small boutiques, it’s no wonder the Dutch capital is so popular with travellers. Although Amsterdam has struggled for years with what some might call “too much good stuff”, in terms of tourism, it is actively tackling the problem by encouraging visitors to explore outside of the crowded and of its infamous red-light district.
By redirecting travelers to its many charming neighborhoods, the hope is to more evenly distribute the positive socio-economic benefits of tourism in the city and surrounding areas. At the national level, the Dutch government rewards sustainable initiatives, taxing polluting activities, investing in soft mobility and encouraging the use of public transport and cycling. Amsterdam is also committed to reducing CO2 emissions and has fostered an increasingly popular vegan and vegetarian food scene, allowing visitors and locals alike to eat more mindfully.
Known for its music scene, acclaimed museums and galleries, the iconic CN Tower and an incredible skyline, Ontario’s capital and Canada’s largest city is also a fantastic destination for those looking to travel from more responsible way. Mesmerizing and modern, Toronto is best discovered through a guided tour with a local guide to escape the tourist trail and discover local markets and hipster hangouts.
In an effort to combat climate change, environmentally conscious Toronto actively supports the adoption of electric vehicles, offers carbon offset credits and even introduced a green roof regulation in 2009, requiring buildings to have a green roof for vegetation to grow. As Toronto is now blessed with incredible fruit and vegetable growers and nearby farms just outside of the city, the farm-to-table ethos has been widely embraced by many of the city’s most popular restaurants. , where visitors can sample delicious dishes grown close to home. .
At the foothills of the Himalayas and located directly on the Ganges, Rishikesh is a beautiful city surrounded by rippling rivers and majestic mountains. An exquisite and soothing place to nurture the soul, visitors can tap into the rejuvenating ambience by participating in wellness activities like a sound healing session.
A world-renowned destination for yoga, meditation, and hiking, the city has also taken several steps to be more sustainable, including becoming vegetarian by law and actively encouraging plant-based eating to support the environment. Rickshaws, one of the city’s main traditional means of transport, have been fitted with CNG engines in a bid to reduce pollution, while local artists produce art installations using waste plastics unique.