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Sustainable Tourism: Water Usage in US HotelsI was born with the travel bug. As often as I could, I was off visiting and re-visiting places near and far, soaking in sea air, language, and culture. But as my eco-conscience grew, I realized that my growing collection of seashells and jet-fuelled flights might be satisfying my wanderlust at the expense of the environment. Because my wanderlust was simply impossible to ignore, I turned my attention to sustainable tourism.

Eco/Geo/Green/Sustainable Tourism
No matter the name, the intent is the same: travel with the lightest environmental and socio-cultural footprint possible to maintain or improve conditions in all communities around the world and ensure their health for years to come. A lofty goal, but with a change in perspective and a little bit of effort, travel can be not only guilt-free, but rewarding in unexpected ways.

World Summit on Sustainable TourismI have been a proud member of Sustainable Tourism Charter's ST+20 Scientific Committee for more than two years during which I have tried to advance the organization's goals for preserving common heritage, supporting tourism biodiversity, decreasing tourism's effect on climate change, wealth redistribution, and enhancing partnerships and innovation - the last of which specifically related to the development of a Return on Investment (ROI) Model for Sustainable Tourism.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in this growing and important field of tourism, later this year, from November 26-27, a seminal event will take place in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) to mark the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Charter for Sustainable Tourism.

We can all play a part in improving our environment, whether we become more aware of recycling to educating our children about the importance of being environmentally conscious. Governments and city councils too have a responsibility and in this infographic, we can see that some cities have been more serious about energy efficiency than others.

For example, in Copenhagen, you can see for yourself just how much they have embraced environmental responsibility whereby over one-third of residents use their bicyles regularly.  In addition, there are manysafe cycle paths that allow you to see the city plus get some fresh air.  More closer to home, consider a visit to San Francisco where they encourage the use of electric cars, thereby helping to reduce smog.  

Check out these other green city destination options for some additional inspiration.

View of Hotel Verde from Wetland"We didn't even know this was possible!" the retired couple from England explained. They were vacationing in South Africa and due to a family issue had to quickly catch a flight from Cape Town back home. So, they checked into Hotel Verde for the night and found themselves as pleasantly surprised and intrigued by the hotel's green features and grounds as I was.

We were lucky enough to be given a personalized tour by Sarah, one of the most passionate and informed hotel marketing executives I've met in the sustainable travel industry.  While the 4-star Hotel Verde (owned by Bon Hotels) is primarily geared for the business traveler (with its complementary shuttles to the airport and the city center as well as ample conference room space), leisure travelers will find this hotel to be a treat as well.

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  • Jane
    Jane says #
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    There is no doubt that Hotel Verde brought a new concept of sustainable tourism. From the description of this article, I could tel

GreeceSwimmingWith almost 10,000 miles of coastline and 6,000 islands to swim, snorkel and sunbathe the days away, you may find it hard to narrow down your vacation options when traveling to Greece.  In my opinion, Athens is a must for the first-time visitor to Greece.  

Seeing the Acropolis, having a fresh fish meal beside the sea, visiting the Panathenaic Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games), learning about local turtle rescue center's conservation efforts, listening (and dancing) to bouzouki music, bargaining with the Plaka shopowners - it's all part of the fun of Athenian life!  

But, when the crowded city gets a bit too stifling and you want to take a break that's not far and car free, the island of Hydra is a great green getaway choice for the entire family.

One of the bona fide signs of spring in the Washington DC area is the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  Commemorating this lovely gift from Japan, there are art shows, concerts, tea and sake tastings, bike tours, cruises, food tours and photo safaris – and along with that, there's traffic!  Lots and lots of traffic! For proactive green travelers heading to the festival, here's how you can lower your impact.

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  • bencep
    bencep says #
    Very inspiring travel blog. You got unique idea of giving tips. Looking forward on your next post.

The origins of EarthCheck date back to 1997 when the Australian government created the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) in order to produce science based research about sustainability in the travel industry. In the ensuing decade, the STCRC focused on helping tourism businesses and organizations benchmark and enhance their triple bottom line first for the Green Globe certification and then under its own brand, EarthCheck.

Unlike ten years ago when the mantra reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim was in vogue and hailed by people, especially those in developed countries, who wanted to do their part to stem climate change, the de rigueur standard is now carbon offsetting.  Specifically for tourism, carbon offsetting presents an opportunity for people to counterbalance their greenhouse gas emissions by investing in certain forestry, renewable energy, or development projects since their travels require a car rental, airplane flight, train trip, or hotel stay. But does carbon offsetting really work to reduce energy dependency or to create local jobs? The answer largely depends on what type of projects one supports.

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