How we consume (always more, always more quickly) is extended to our way to travel. We want to do and visit more in a shorter time without worrying about the consequences of our actions. However taking the time, appreciating what we are doing, savouring the present moment, would it not be it real holidays? Let’s find out an alternative to mass tourism that takes its roots in the “slow” movement.
The arrival of several thousands travellers in a same place exerts an enormous pressure on our ecosystems. Greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, soil erosion and the increase in the amount of waste generated, are a few examples of the not properly controlled impact of tourism on the environment. This alarming background forces us to rethink our way to travel, to make it more conscientious. Ecotourism appears to be an excellent solution to the inconveniences caused by conventional tourism.
An alternative to mass tourism
Ecotourism is a new way of travel by minimizing our environmental footprint, favouring economic development, the protection of the environment and the preservation of natural, social and cultural resources.
The practices of travellers are appreciated in a holistic way meaning that their impacts are thought globally (impacts on a short and a long term, on local populations, the environment, the economy, etc.). This awareness allows travellers to make informed choices during the trip such as food choices, clothing, lodging, transport, and activities. This tourism in line with nature is therefore the opposite of a devastator and disrespectful one.
Give priority to quality over quantity
Ecotourism involves an educational component in order to understand why this way of travelling is essential and helpful. It should ensure the well-being of local populations by encouraging them to participate. Similarly, ecological tourism contributes to the protection of social, natural and cultural heritage.
Tourism and the « slow » movement
“Eco-slow” tourism is a new approach recognised by the French Ministry of Tourism as one of the five centers of excellence (among oenotourism, night tourism, etc.) that should be enhanced as part of the national tourism promotion policies considering notably, the strong expectation of foreign tourists.
Thus, the slow movement offers a return to the roots for these ehnthusiastics that enables them to take another look at the world around them. This concept is not reduced to tourism but rather is a way of life. Previously, we have talked about the concept of “slow cosmetic” here.
A practice adapted to all
A bloom of innovative concepts of touristic eco-villages born in Europe for the lovers of unusual locations uniting well-being and ethic. One of the major reasons to create eco-tourist villages was to sensitize stakeholders from the world of tourism to environmental issues.
The Cocoon Tree green village is one of these developing alternatives of travel centers. The houses consist of spheres and are built with durable, waterproof and weather resistant materials. The developers of Cocoon Tree wish to propose a zero impact tourism everywhere where it will be possible to implement these eco-designed spheres (touching the ground, hanging from a tree or floating on a lake, etc.). Thus, villages are thought in order to avoid any grid connection by offering energy-efficient solar powered home and ecological toilets.
Yurts in the mountains, bubbles on the beach or even tipis in the woods… are other ways to escape the daily life at a lowest cost for the environment. However, visiting eco-friendly places is not enough, we have to ensure to adapt our behaviors. Favouring clean and public transport, buying local, reducing waste, not picking wild flower are some examples of actions easy to apply that belong to a respectful tourism.
© cocoon Tree
Favoring quality, being better impregnated with places and cultures, taking the time, enjoying the here and now, seem to be the desire of each traveller. However, the ecotourism, innovative and attractive concept, still remain minor compared to mass tourism. Public services and consumers have a decisive part to do for its development. So, when you will prepare your upcoming vacation more or less long, look at sustainable tourism and go to the eco-label hunt! Disconnection warranty.
Laura Anty, Environmental Writer – Mélanie Gaillard, Translator