10 of the best eco-travel destinations in the world
With the World Responsible Tourism Awards in their 11th year, ethical agent Responsible Travel has rounded up 10 award-winning destinations for Adelto readers.
These holiday destinations will not only give you the holiday of a lifetime, but where your travels will also make a real, positive difference to local people and conservation efforts.
This wonderland of caves, crystal clear water, mountains and forests is little known outside Brazil, but has an enterprising and innovative approach to sustainable tourism which won it the Best Destination in the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. So while you are snorkelling through its kaleidoscopic caverns, and marvelling at its wildlife, you’ll also be helping protect them for generations to come.
Overall winner of the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2008 for its nationwide efforts to use tourism to make better places to live and visit, New Zealand is an adrenalin-fuelled outdoor playground. Mountains, trimmed by glaciers roll into staggering coastlines and lush forests offer walking and hiking trails galore.
Take a step back in time in this unique former mining town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been using tourism to preserve local heritage for more than 85 years. Come to Norway for culture and wilderness, cycling, hiking and canoeing in summer, and snowshoeing, husky-sledding and to see traditional reindeer herders in winter.
The North York Moors, England
Conjuring up images of wild, remote landscapes and atmospheric adaptations of Bronte novels, winner of the best protected area in 2004, the North York Moors in England are a spectacular mixture of coastline, open moorland and quaint, Georgian spa towns. Take the waters in Harrogate, or take to two wheels to explore the open, heather-filled expanses.
Cape Town, South Africa
Vibrant and diverse, South Africa’s culture is often an afterthought to its animals. Cape Town offers a unique, complex combination of history and modernity, culture and scenery as well as innovative, informative township tourism projects. Find a holiday which immerses you in its cultural melting pot.
New Forest National Park, England
Tucked away on the South Coast of the UK, this family friendly area of 900 year old woodland, walking trails, quaint villages and ubiquitous New Forest ponies won the award for Best Destination in the 2007 World Responsible Tourism Awards. Excellent bus connections and gentle cycling routes makes it easy to go car-free.
A world away from the all inclusive resorts, feel the rhythm of the real Caribbean in Tobago. And nowhere else in the Caribbean offers such a diversity of wildlife and habitats in such a compact area.
St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Isolated St Kilda, in the remotest part of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides may not be the top of everyone’s travel bucket list, but these tiny islands are the UK’s only Dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognised for both its natural and unique cultural significance.
Aspen, Colorado, US
Leading the field in environmentally-friendly skiing, this mountain resort has a whole host of green accolades to its name. Be stunned by its towering mountains and summer hiking trails, and in winter know that the snow here is about as green as it gets.
Lake District National Park, England
Jaw dropping scenery, crystal lakes and enough outdoor activities to keep adventurers of all ages happy, the Lake District National Park offers a real retreat into nature. And with so many of its tourism businesses partnering with conservation organisations, a stay here really does contribute to keeping the Lakes as beautiful as they are now, for years to come.
Justin Francis is the managing director of responsibletravel.com, an online travel agent promoting responsible tourism – holidays around the globe offer a more authentic and enriching experience while also benefiting communities and conservation. Justin is also founder of the annual World Responsible Tourism Awards.
Images courtesy of Prefeitura Municipal de Turismo, Bonito, Chris McLenna, Lars Geithe, North York Moors National Park Authority – Mike Nichola, Cape Town Tourism, Barry Whitcher, Trinidad & Tobago Tourist Board, National Trust for Scotland, Brett Friel and Nick Thorne
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