Monday, 22 August 2011

Green holidays

Many of us are thinking about holidays right now. Holidays that we are looking forward to, holidays that we have recently enjoyed, or are currently enjoying!

There has been a noticeable increase in recent years in various forms of eco-tourism, responsible travel and green holidays. My son has just returned from seven weeks building elephant fences in Southern India as part of his gap year. But it’s not just students; many in employment are taking career breaks or just extended holidays to do something useful.

There are a wide range of short summer breaks on offer too, especially in developing countries, based on living with local communities or where the environmental footprint has been limited. Some of these are very exciting in their imagination and authenticity. You can really get to know or an area by veering off the beaten path, rather than just passing through and sticking to the tourist highlights. Holidays like this probably add more directly to the local economy than to the balance sheets of international tour companies. 

At the next level, there are many tour operators that offer green facilities or features such as offsetting your flights or recycling greywater in your hotel. Most will have seen the scheme for guests choosing to reduce their laundry burden by not asking for a daily change at towels and sheets. This in itself substantially reduces environmental impact in places where water is scarce.

If it’s just a nod towards green issues, such as offering fair trade tea and coffee in your room, or a more substantial contribution to sustainability, such as encouraging arrival by public transport, schemes seem to be enthusiastically supported by visitors. In our location, in the Lake District, many visitors are quite happy to contribute to a fix the fells fund to repair footpath damage through a small fee levied on their hotel bills. This year there is also a popular Fresh Air Is Free campaign to encourage visitors out of their cars and on to public transport.

So whether its big or small gesture, take a few minutes and see how you might be able to green your holiday this summer.

We can help you do it, why not visit our site,

David Jackman

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