Do you know what sustainable tourism is? Also known under the names “eco-responsible tourism”, “ecotourism” or even “ethical tourism”, this concept evokes a way of traveling that best respects the issues of environmental protection, local development, as well as meeting with populations.
In other words, a more virtuous vision of tourism, which goes against the grain of that which we immediately have in mind when thinking of “cheap holidays” on the other side of the world.
Recently, Australian publishing house Lonely Planet revealed its top 10 most eco-friendly destinations to visit in 2024.
⋙ These words from the French language borrowed from the Gauls
The top 10 sustainable destinations in 2024
- Wales and its coastal paths
- The Portuguese Way to Santiago
- The Palau archipelago
- The island of Hokkaidō (Japan)
- Baltic forest trails
- Eco-lodges in South Africa
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Let’s talk about Spain. The country has invested in bike lanes, train lines and electric buses to ensure more environmentally friendly transport options. Its place at the top of the ranking is also justified by the adoption of measures aimed at promoting off-season travel and less visited sectors. The Iberian nation also wants 75% of its electricity to come from renewable energies by 2030 and 10% by 2050. Let us also remember that Valencia was elected Green Capital of Europe for the year 2024.
Next comes Greenland, mainly known for its tundra and pristine ice. His government put an end to oil and gas exploration, making the state the first Arctic country to do so. The pro-self-sufficiency country, which has emphasized the need to produce clean and sustainable electricity, is working to emphasize sustainability in the mining and tourism sectors.
Then, Lonely Planet selected Wales and its coastal paths. This state is one of the first countries to legislate on sustainable development. Gradually, it expands its transport options, making new stations available. The objective: to explore the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park more easily. The “Wales on Rails” website provides holidaymakers with a platform to plan their trips to the country.
In fourth place is the Portuguese Way of Santiago (or “Caminho Português”). This 620 km trail is not just a pilgrimage route: it is also a panoramic journey through Portugal and Spain. The opportunity to explore historic sites, meet other people and eat in local shops. The credo: slow down, appreciate the wonders of nature, (re)connect with others.
Throughout the Portuguese Way, the selected accommodation establishments use environmentally friendly practices, notes Lonely Planet. Among them: promoting recycling, saving water and using solar energy.
In fifth place is Palau, an archipelago of more than 500 islands in the Pacific Ocean. This nation is associated with a long history of sustainable development. In 1979, it adopted the first anti-nuclear constitution in the world. More recently, in 2017, Palau required international visitors to “preserve and protect” the islands.
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Five other sustainable destinations to discover
Also included in the ranking established by Lonely Planet is Hokkaidō, a Japanese island famous for its natural hot springs (called “onsen“) and its volcanoes.
Next comes Ecuador – popular with globetrotters for its wild rivers, tropical forests, remarkable biodiversity and active volcanoes – which won the award for Best Green Destination in South America in 2022, but also the World’s First Green Destination in 2021 (World Travel Awards).
Finally, the ranking is completed with Patagonia (which is striving to become more attractive with its expanded parks, new trails and rewilding projects), the Baltic Forest trails (to be discovered in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), as well as ecolodges in South Africa, which allow you to observe fauna and flora without harming the environment.
On the same topic :
⋙ Ecotourism in France: which are the best islands to visit without a car?
⋙ Sustainable tourism: the Dordogne tops the list of French destinations favored by eco-responsible travelers
⋙ Ecotourism in France: 5 ideas for zero-carbon weekends
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