Generally, there is not much that rates higher on your average traveller’s to do list than budgeting, but with an increased awareness of climate change and our carbon footprint, travellers are beginning to prioritise the environment over their own expenses. Eco-tourism is becoming more and more popular, and to help you add a few eco-friendly destinations to your bucket list, we’ve rounded up 8 Hipsiti destinations that deserve to be on your radar.
Danes and bicycles date back to as far as the 1880s, when it was considered faster, safer and more fashionable to be seen riding a bike. Fast forward to present day 2018 and it seems not much has changed. Denmark, especially Copenhagen, is more bike friendly than ever. Copenhagen is often described as the cycle capital of the world, with over 60% of locals opting for cycling as their main form of transport in 2017. It’s no wonder that Denmark is the world leader for keeping CO2 emissions down, and they have no intention of stopping anytime soon. If you find yourself in Copenhagen be sure to check out the popular Copenhagen city bike, Bycyklen, as your public transport alternative.
With fairytale-esque cities, ancient Viking heritage and breathtaking scenery, there are so many great reasons to visit Norway. Tourists flock to this great northern land in droves and Visit Norway promotes a number of ways they can visit the region without leaving too much of a footprint, including hiking and bike trails as well as precautions to regulate whaling, fishing and sealing along its beautiful coastline. Norway has also introduced a great new initiative to help encourage recycling can and bottle waste. A small tax has been added to these products, which is only refundable when the empty product is returned to a machine at selected outlets. Be sure to remember this the next time you visit, it’s also a great money saving tip for a country that’s considered one of the most expensive in the world.
After the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano that shut down airports across Europe and the UK, the publicity generated caused Iceland to skyrocket into the tourism scene. It’s not surprising that this is one of the hottest destinations of recent years, with sites such as geothermal pools, geysers, volcanos and glaciers all in one small area, so it’s no wonder there were over 2 million visitors in 2017. Iceland has utilised its ease of access to natural and geothermal resources and is the only country in the world to harness 100% of its heat and electricity from renewable sources. Next time you visit Iceland, consider taking one of their hydrogen powered buses instead of jumping in that taxi!
Sweden features solidly in this enviable list for green living. Swedes are also some of the happiest people in the world, and it’s obviously true after you spend a few days taking in the beautiful cities and customs. To keep the country pristine and on top of the world lists, Sweden has implemented ‘Nature’s Best’, Europe’s first eco-label. To be considered part of the program, operators have to make contributions to the environment and adhere to a tightly monitored selection criteria. Whether you’re after a sea kayaking expedition, a lux hotel or a once in a lifetime dog sledding adventure be sure to keep an eye out for the ‘Natures Best’ label to help ensure you make your own positive contribution to the beautiful Swedish environment.
Not only is Singapore one of the world leaders in economic growth but there are so many world-famous attractions that draw millions of tourists there every year. Singapore has a generous commitment to green planning and by 2030, has a goal to be over 80% green. Tourist hot spot ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is leading the way with their innovative Supertrees and award-winning ecological domes. Most people visit in high hopes of taking that perfect insta-worthy snap, but little do they know that these man-made marvels have a number of different functions including serving as water catchments when it rains and harvesting solar energy to power the must-see night time music and light show. Next time you’re in Singapore, choose visiting the gardens over splurging on infinity pools, with all proceeds from entry fees going towards the conservation of the project.
Ecuador is well known as one of the easiest gateways to get to the Galapagos Islands, a thriving and fragile ecosystem like no other in the world. These volcanic islands are a World Heritage site and are said to have inspired the Theory of Evolution by Charles Darwin. If travelling by ship, Ecuador has taken a vital step to protect the Islands by regulating the number of cruise passenger visitors and the number of nights they are able to stay aboard the vessel. You can also fly, but new provisions mean you have to prove you have a return ticket and a booking at a hotel before you are allowed through security. These strict tourism rules are put in place to help protect and conserve the unique flora and fauna from the effects of climate change. If you plan to visit the Galapagos Islands, ensure you have all your documents in order and book with a reputable and eco-friendly tour company to ensure you do your bit for the environment.
When you think of ecotourism, the hustle and bustle of India isn’t quite the first place that comes to mind. The state of Kerala, on the south-west Malabar Coast, isn’t your typical Indian destination. Its pristine beaches and luscious mountain ranges draw visitors to the region who are encouraged by tourism officials to conduct responsible tourism to help maintain the parks. Popular ecotourism destinations include two national parks and twelve wildlife sanctuaries, many of which are home to elephants, tigers and bison, as well as the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered mountain goat species. Next time you’re in India get away from the busy cities and take a trip down the coast you won’t forget.
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Special Mention: Amazon Rainforest
While not technically a country as it spans across Brazil, Colombia, Peru and other parts of South America, bonus points go to an encouraging program in the Amazon rainforest. This is an area of the world that has suffered gravely from commercial development and climate change but some locals are fighting back. In the wake of a tourism boom, locals are becoming guides and leading tourists around certain areas to maintain the precious eco-system.
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From the freezing far reaches of Europe to sun-drenched South-West India, countries and cities are striving to protect this incredible planet we live on so future generations of travellers like you can enjoy them. Next time you find yourself in an eco-friendly country, jump on a hydrogen powered bus instead of a taxi or choose to support tours with eco credentials to do your part to ensure our favourite Hipsiti destinations are there for future travellers to explore.