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It's time for sustainable vacation.

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It's time for sustainable vacation.

Aug 12, 2015


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Note: this article was first published in spanish and can be found here.
The summer has arrived and a lot of people will enjoy a well deserved holiday.
Closer or further away from home, shorter or longer, and more or less expensive,
the important thing is to disconnect from normal life for a few days and rest for
the latter part of the year. A holiday in many cases that will lead to destinations in
nature while others will take us to more urbanites and cosmopolitan places.
In any case and regardless of the type of holiday that we have, it is important that
we contemplate it from a viewpoint of responsibility and sustainability as
well as try to behave like we do in our lives the rest of the year. Through this
article I will try to offer an outline of which are the most ethical destinations
in the world for the year 2015 and also a series of practical recommendations
to implement anywhere if we want to be responsible travelers (or tourists).

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It's time for sustainable vacation. | Albert Vilario Alonso | LinkedIn

12/8/15 17:27

Ethical Traveller is a project of the Earth Island Institute, it has no profit or

money support or donations from any nation, government, tourist agencies or
individuals. Among other things, they publish an annual report on the 10 most
ethical destinations in the world. To get to determine those destinations,
Ethical Traveller bases on a methodology that is available on its website, which
is mainly based in aspects of environmental protection, social welfare of the
country, respect for Human Rights and welfare and respect for animals.
The truth is that it's a list for those who love rather distant voyages, because at
least from Spain most destinations are not very close to us. For 2015, the ten
destinations in the list were, in alphabetical order, the following:
Cabo Verde.
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Other countries that were close in the previous ranking were Malawi, Granada,

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Madagascar, Ghana and Cuba.

Whether we are fortunate to be able to visit any place in the above list as if we
visit nearby places it is necessary to contemplate some tips and act in the most

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sustainable and responsible way we can.

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is an international body

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formally linked to the United Nations since 1976, and gives us the power to make
that sustainable tourism through its various reports, guides and brochures such
as "The Responsible Tourist and Traveller" and "Tips for the world traveler. "The
UNWTO reminds us that "travel and tourism should be planned and practiced

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as a mean of personal and collective development. If carried out with an open

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It's time for sustainable vacation. | Albert Vilario Alonso | LinkedIn

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mind, it is an irreplaceable factor of self-education, mutual tolerance and a way

of learning about the legitimate differences between people and cultures and

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their diversity".
Among the advice that this organization offers us, we can see these four main
Honor local customs and traditions: Investigating previously about the
destination to meet their customs and traditions, learning a few words in the

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native language in order to establish a more direct contact with people,

enjoying and respecting the history, architecture, religion , and even music,
art and cuisine of the country we visit.

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Support the local economy: Buying local handicraft items, dealing with
respect for local vendors through fair trade, and not buying items prohibited
by national and international regulations.
Respect the environment: Reducing the environmental impact, taking
care of natural resources and archaeological treasures, protecting the life and
natural habitat, buying products that do not use plants or animals in danger
of extinction, and leaving behind us nothing that was not already there

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Being an informed and respectful traveler: Complying with national
laws and regulations, respecting Human Rights, protecting children from
exploitation in tourism and by taking appropriate health precautions.

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As we can see, they are pretty common sense tips, but often not taken into
account or at least not completely.

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Finally, it is worth remembering that as travelers or tourists we must require

agencies, hotels and other institutions that offer tourist services to address these
requirements in sustainability and social responsibility. In 2013, the
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) conducted a study on the role
that this sector has to play within the context of responsible tourism. As data to
take into account from that study, the following are remarkable:
21% of consumers would be willing to pay more for their holidays in order
to choose a company that has a good environmental and social record.

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Responsible tourists, despite having awareness in environmental matters,

believe that the responsibility for sustainability lies especially in travel

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It's time for sustainable vacation. | Albert Vilario Alonso | LinkedIn

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themself entirely to enjoy their leisure time.

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holiday. Since prefer to leave home with this issue resolved and devote

36% of clients of agencies support the idea of establishing scores on

sustainability and social responsibility like the stars of the hotels.
In short, as consumers we ask for greater involvement on their part and we make

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them responsible for carrying out a green tourism, as a sustainable vacation is

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