Take a Holiday that’s Good for People and the EnvironmentSeptember 22, 2011
Today’s Rainforest Alliance Week blog takes a closer look at tourism.
Many of us took a holiday this summer — spending time playing on a beach or trekking through forests, staying in hotels or camping, eating in local restaurants and buying souvenirs.
While such holidays and activities provide a vital source of income for many developing counties, tourism can also cause pollution, deforestation, inefficient energy use and cultural exploitation.
That’s why the Rainforest Alliance is committed to working with both tourism businesses and travelers to promote sustainability and ensure that both the environment and the people who depend on it are protected.
Our sustainable tourism program has been going for more than a decade. We help tourism professionals improve the sustainability of their businesses based on the principles of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). The GSTC principles include strategies for implementing ecosystem and water conservation measures, reducing energy use, supporting local economies, hiring from within the community and reducing costs.
Hotels and tour operators that meet Rainforest Alliance sustainable tourism requirements, which follow the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Verified mark and earn the right to display the mark on brochures or in advertisements.
For the savvy traveller, we have our SustainableTrip.org website — an online database of hotels, tour operators and other businesses (such as restaurants) in Latin America and the Caribbean that have been certified by a sustainable tourism certification program, verified by the Rainforest Alliance or recommended as being sustainable by a reputable organization.
Travelers and tourism entrepreneurs who want to find out more about how tourism can benefit local communities, respect cultural diversity and contribute to conservation can take a tour of our virtual SmartLodge. The SmartLodge is an interactive hotel room packed with practical advice on the simple steps that tourism companies and travelers can take to move toward sustainability.
Happy Rainforest Alliance Week!