What is ecotourism? Volunteer trips to nature, where volunteer cleanups are held and trees are planted? Or maybe this is living in natural thatched huts on the ocean? Or an independent trip to the reserve with a backpack, tent and a minimum of comfort? Someone thinks that not littering in the forest and not killing animals is already ecological tourism. We understand the issue.
If things are more or less clear with "tourism", then with "eco" now there are much more discrepancies. The fashion for everything “green” and “eco-friendly” is slowly taking over the world, and our perception filters have already tuned in to the code words, not noticing sometimes very strange “artifacts”. Everywhere they put green leaves and the inscription "eco" - on disposable dishes, aggressive chemicals, plastic bags and other by no means environmentally friendly items. So you don't have to take the ad's word for it.
Experts have their say on ecotourism: it is a responsible trip to natural areas that promotes nature conservation and improves the well-being of local people. This definition is given by the International Society of Ecotourism. The WWF defines ecotourism in a similar way. Here are the main criteria from these serious companions to test the sustainability of their own routes.
In fact, it is not an easy task - to make sure that mass outdoor recreation is not detrimental to ecosystems, and the local population would benefit from caring for nature. But there are already good examples of projects implemented in this area. You can try it on yourself.
For several decades there have been international projects WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), that is, "World Opportunities on Organic Farms". These programs combine leisure and travel with work in organic farming. WWOOF co-founder Wendell Berry said, "Today's minors already know where babies come from, but not everyone knows how potatoes grow." Okay, we're fine with potatoes, but trying yourself as a banana gatherer in Ecuador or an ecologist in Madagascar, feeling like a winemaker in Argentina or a gardener in Norway sounds really tempting.
There are several directory sites where you can choose a direction and project (wwoofinternational. rg, woof. et, workaway. nfo, helpx. et). As a rule, on these sites, a participant needs to pay a registration fee of about € 20 to gain access to the host database. And then the whole world is in your hands. You want to go to Australia, but you want to go to Armenia. This vacation is not for the lazy, but impressions and new knowledge are guaranteed. The host will usually provide you with food and accommodation in exchange for your work, plus you have free time.
An unusual tourism project in Russia: Alturism is a travel company of a new format, although the word "firm" is too dry and soulless for such a sincere project. The guys are developing routes in which travelers, or "alturists," as they are called, can escape from the bustling metropolis to plunge into the depths of rural life, work with their hands, drink tea from a samovar, swim in the river and, after the bathhouse, discover new happy selves. On such trips, a team of "alturists" can take part in the restoration of an old wooden tower, collection and drying of willow tea, restoration of a pier on a river, or some other locally important projects. Thus, travelers get acquainted with rural life and immerse themselves in nature, and local residents receive support for their projects.
Finally, a few tips on how to make any travel greener:
If you are tired of noisy cities, crowded beaches and tourist routes, you can try ecotourism - it involves outdoor recreation away from the hustle and bustle. At the same time, conditions can be both comfortable (for example, when you stay in a house on a farm with all the amenities), and as close as possible to the wild. Another important part of ecotourism is to strive to minimize environmental damage. Therefore, the owners of such hotels and farms usually choose sustainable materials when constructing buildings and use electricity from alternative sources. We have collected five places in different European countries where you can enjoy a relaxing holiday without harm to nature.
The Tree Hotel is located in the middle of the forest near the Swedish village of Harads. Its visitors can move into rooms in the form of a flying saucer, bird's nest, mirror cube, or other unusual shapes. Although the rooms are located on trees, they look modern, and you don't have to worry about safety: the rooms are securely fixed on pine trees 4-6 meters above the ground. In addition, all rooms have Wi-Fi, underfloor heating and dry closets: the creators of the hotel emphasize that one of the main components of its concept is to have a minimal impact on the environment. The sizes of the rooms vary from 15 to 75 square meters and can accommodate both two people and large families with several children. For an additional fee, guests can enjoy fishing, cycling, kayaking and a sauna.
Overnight at the hotel: from 34 396 rubles per person per night.
Another unusual hotel is located in the Swiss Alps. Guests are accommodated in "pods" - small houses in the form of spheres, consisting of triangles. This form was chosen because of its environmental friendliness: it allows the use of less metal without compromising the sustainability of such houses. In addition, the hotel uses special devices that help to use water and electricity wisely. One "pod" is one room, each of which, in addition to the bedroom, has a bathroom and everything you need. The owners of the hotel offer many different activities depending on the season - albeit for a fee. For example, in the winter you can go skiing or dog sledding, and in the summer you can hike in the mountains, ride bicycles or fly paragliding. In bad weather, you can stay at the hotel to try one of five types of massage, including Ayurvedic and therapeutic.
Overnight at the hotel: from 23 471 rubles per person per night.
The farm is located in the north of England in the middle of the picturesque Borrowdale Valley - not far from the lake and the village with the market. The hosts offer a choice of one of five rooms in the old country house, depending on the number of guests, each with every comfort, including a shower and central heating. Mostly sheep are raised on the farm, but there are also chickens - the eggs they lay are prepared for breakfast. Guests can take care of the animals, feed them and simply enjoy a relaxing holiday away from the city in the middle of the English countryside.
Overnight at the hotel: from 4 200 rubles per person per night.