Sound eco-tourism practices aim to minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, create awareness and provide financial benefits to the local communities. It was a growing trend in pre-pandemic 2019; however, the movement has been accelerated due to the effect of Covid-19 on international travel. Here are our picks for the eco-friendly countries driving change in the world of green tourism.
Costa Rica aims to become one of the world’s first carbon-neutral countries, with all its current electricity needs supplied via renewable sources. They have also dedicated 26% of their landmass to national parks, wildlife reserves, and protected lands, intending to reduce the frequent negative impacts of modern-day tourism.
New Zealand is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but you can enjoy all the attractions it has to offer in an eco-friendly way. Besides dedicating 1/3 of all landmass to national parks, reserves and heritage sites, New Zealand is also committed to eradicating the use of fossil fuels by 2025!
In Finland, all tourism is eco-tourism! A large part of nordic culture is a deep understanding and care for the planet and local environment. Finland is the most forested country in Europe and has a whopping 40 national parks, its easy to understand why it has been in a battle with Iceland for the world’s Greenest country for what seems like an eternity.
Unsurprisingly, Iceland is also on this list! Thanks to its location on the mid-Atlantic ridge and its geothermal activity, Iceland is almost entirely powered by geothermal energy, making it one of the greenest countries in the world. Low light pollution resulting from sparse population density makes viewing the northern lights a sight to behold.
Unlike many other hot tourism destinations, tourism in Bhutan was founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that it must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. That said, you’re only allowed into the country if you book through an official tour company.
Fun fact: 70% of Bhutan is forested and political decisions are often made according to GNH – Gross National Happiness!