Vienna, VA, Feb. 21, 2012– Sustainable travel trail blazer Greenloons announces the addition of Alaska and Galapagos cruise companies as well as land operators in Sweden and Patagonia, all eco-certified by qualified third parties, to its growing list of resources for travelers seeking sustainable vacation options.
Irene Lane, Greenloons founder, said the “green travel” market is estimated to be growing 5% annually worldwide, representing 6% of the world’s GDP and reflecting 11.4 % of all consumer vacation spending.
“We are always on the lookout for exceptional ecotourism operators to meet this growing demand,” says Lane. The following new operators went through an extensive process of vetting and qualification before being added.
Looking north, Discovery Voyages engages passengers on adventure cruises of up to 11 days with multi-sport opportunities. It is gold certified indicating that it is a leader in the tourism industry; it demonstrates a financial commitment to the local economy and local conservation efforts, and provides tourist interpretation with respect to the environment, wildlife and Alaskan cultures. A recommended itinerary is the Prince William Sound Alaskan Discovery cruise.
“With the idea of environmentally friendly and socially conscious travel becoming more popular, we look forward to showcasing our Alaska travel options under the “green” reputation, which Greenloons has so well established,” said Discovery’s Captain Rand.
In warmer waters, Ecoventura offers seven-night cruises inclusive of active exploration including sea kayaking, snorkeling, birding and hiking through the Galapagos Islands. Ecoventura was awarded the Smart Voyager certification, so rigorous that in 2002 it was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as an example that should be implemented “in all of the natural patrimonies of humanity.” The certification focuses on improving the quality of life for local residents, reducing the ecological impacts of tourism and ensuring that operators directly contribute to the economy and preservation of the environment. One of their newer Galapagos Island cruises explores the islands of the archipelago.
“Greenloons provides us with an ideal partnership to educate our guests about what they should look for and avoid when choosing a tour operator that is serious about sustainability and actively strives to keep their destination pristine,” said Doris Welsh, spokesperson.
EcoCamp Patagonia includes a six-day safari in Torres del Paine National Park while enjoying the charms of a domed eco camp that is in harmony with its natural surroundings. Dramatic mountain formations, glaciers, fjords, ancient forests and an impressive array of fauna are waiting to be discovered. This is Chile’s first hospitality company to receive the ISO14001 Environmental Management System certification. The Patagonia Safari offers open start dates and four full days of varied trekking.
In Sweden, Vildmark i Värmland offers a Swedish Timber Raft Adventure that engages families to build their own raft out of logs and ropes for gliding down the river Klarälven. Guests camp (except for the last night at a hotel) and with the help of a crew prepare breakfasts and dinners over an open fire in the heart of Scandinavia. Sweden’s Nature’s Best Certification is administered by the Swedish Ecotourism Society. There are over 30 requirements for ecotourism operators to fulfill in the areas of minimizing the negative impacts on nature and culture, supporting the local economy, operating in an environmentally sustainable manner, contributing actively to the protection of nature and culture, effective interpretation skills and knowledge, and quality and security while traveling. The five day Swedish Timber Raft Adventure departs weekly in June and August.
“We are excited to start working with Greenloons. We both are companies working seriously with ecotourism and offer unforgettable experiences for families,” said Anders Junler, program director.
Greenloons guides families to travel experiences managed by certified third-party suppliers engaged in eco- and sustainable tourism. Greenloons is a first-of-its-kind online resource aimed at answering the growing need for accredited eco-tours and sustainable holiday travel in the tourism industry. Greenloons.com provides ecotourism education, news, comparable certified ecotour and volunteer conservation program listings, tour reviews and booking services, plus a forum for the community to share its personal vacation stories and tips for establishing ecotourism in any corner of the world.