How to travel abroad differently?
The term “sustainable tourism” refers to any form of alternative tourism that attempts to minimize negative impacts on the local environment. It’s a new way of thinking about travel that takes into account ecology, the local economy, but also social and ethical aspects. Sustainable tourism must ensure viable economic activity for all stakeholders, be it the local population or travelers. The trip must become a useful experience which must allow tourists to become aware of local issues or even participate in improving local life. At national, regional or global level, large bodies are implementing policies and awareness campaigns related to sustainable tourism. This is particularly the case of the European Union, the United Nations, the World Tourism Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Sustainable tourism comes in several types of trips: ecotourism, fair tourism and solidarity tourism. How to combine sustainable tourism and health insurance abroad?
The health crisis linked to Covid-19 has highlighted the need to combine travel safety with all the necessary health measures and respect for the environment for any trip abroad. Respecting the environment is inseparable from human health. For the safety of your travels and your health abroad, Mondassur includes guarantees in most of its health insurance abroad to cover you, in particular in the event of epidemics such as the Covid-19. We invite you to consult the details of the guarantees of these travel insurances which cover the Coronavirus. To travel responsibly, there are many travel agencies that have specialized in this type of travel, the main directions of which are:
Ecotourism is centered on the discovery of nature (ecosystems, agrosystems and rural tourism), and urban ecology (ecological gardens, ecological green spaces, urban nature reserves …). Landscapes and species can be observed, such as lions or elephants in Tanzania for example. The objective is to discover while respecting ecosystems, even helping to restore them. In addition, this type of tourism seeks to reduce its ecological footprint. Ecotourism is one of the sectors which knows the highest rate of popularity in the world, unlike mass tourism which degrades natural environments. Ecotourism has often been linked mainly to tourism of discovery or adventure, very oriented towards the tropical countries richest in biodiversity. The trend today is towards local tourism, relying on nearby natural resources (nature reserves, forests, etc.). The United States is reputed to be the main reservoir of ecotourists (more than 5 million people each year). The majority of other ecotourists come from Europe and the elite of some southern countries. Ecotourism is not just for developing countries. This tourism adapts equally well to developed countries such as France, the rest of Europe or Australia for example. You will find several types of eco-accommodation:
• Eco-youth hostels • Ecocamping: type of campsite where the commitment can be certified by an ecolabel • Eco-lodges or ecolodges or safari lodge (type of rural lodge) • Eco-hotels • Eco-holiday village: type of holiday village. Where to go for ecotourism?
Ecotourism is practicable all over the world, here are some examples of countries and trips practicing this type of tourism:
• Costa Rica seduces with its rich and varied ecosystem. Reserves and national parks represent more than a quarter of its territory. More than 200 volcanoes, deserted beaches and a sublime local fauna make it up. From a sustainable development point of view, Costa Rica performs well with a huge number of zoos, more than 12,000 species of plants, 850 species of birds and 160 species of free-roaming mammals. • France is also developing ecotourism. There are many national parks there such as the Ecrins or Mercantour National Park with many mammals such as chamois, ibex, bears, wolves and lynxes. Sustainable tourism is a priority for France with, for example, lodges and activities in the countryside that respect the environment. • Canada is known for its countless mountains, lakes and rivers. Canadian wildlife is made up of wild animals such as deer, caribou, wolves, bears, etc. There are many activities that respect nature: hiking, bird watching, rafting, wildlife photography, etc. • Tanzania and Kenya attach great importance to ecotourism in order to preserve its landscapes and its wildlife. In the heart of national parks, the ecolodges are designed to have minimal impact on the ecosystem while involving the local tribes (Masai, Samburu, Kikuyu). • Brazil has more than 50 ecological reserves and 7 natural sites classified by UNESCO. Ecotourism is practicable and even essential in the Amazon, in the Atlantic Forest and the Pantanal. Many accommodation options are available there: lodges in the jungle, eco-friendly farms, chalets, tents, etc. There are many organizations offering this type of service as VolunteersLatinAmerica offers eco-farming for a family in Brazil. Fair tourism
Fairtrade tourism is a form of tourism which corresponds to a set of service activities approaching fair trade. The main criteria of this form of tourism are the participation of host communities, the equitable sharing of profits and respect for local communities and the environment. In other words, this form of tourism allows the visitor to stay among the locals knowing that all or a good part of the money spent on the trip will go towards the remuneration of the local populations. For example, the ATS offers several solidarity destinations including Morocco with the Amizmiz Valley within a Berber family or in Aït Ayoub immersed in a village.
Close to fair tourism, solidarity tourism emphasizes meetings and exchanges between locals and travelers. It supports local development and encourages the protection of the host country’s natural resources. Particularly developed in southern countries, solidarity tourism encourages small groups to promote discussion during the trip. The inhabitants can take the time to create real links encouraging interculturality with the people they welcome. The locals are the main contacts for travelers who are welcomed, fed and lodged with locals. The traveler is thus made aware of the traditions, customs and environment of the communities. Travelers participate in a social and solidarity economy. This type of tourism improves living conditions and creates jobs for the population (cooks, guides, drivers, local coordinators, etc.). This job creation results in fairer remuneration and a salary often above the national average for the country. Thus, in addition to participating in the protection of local populations and their environment, solidarity tourism generates many positive social, economic and environmental benefits. For example, Double Sens offers solidarity trips in Colombia to meet the Arhuaco, Wayuu and Costenos for 14 days. Or, in Vietnam in Halong Bay for 16 days.
Many associations or travel agencies offer sustainable trips and excursions. Whether you are attracted by ecotourism, fair-trade tourism or solidarity tourism, here are a few agency websites that can offer you this type of excursion: Double Sens, Croq’Nature, L’arbre à voyages and Arvel Voyage. You can also find on the site of the ATES (Association for Fair and Solidarity Tourism) and the ATR (Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable) ecotourism, solidarity tourism and fair tourism trips with their many partner and certified travel agencies.