The 10 major ecotourism destinations of the moment

The subject may be fashionable, but ecotourism remains a committed and responsible travel choice that contributes to the protection of the environment and the well-being of local populations. Because of global warming and its heavy consequences on the planet, everyone has a role to play on a daily basis to take care of this nature that is so dear to us. This also applies to the field of travel, and there are countries in the world for whom the discovery of natural resources must go hand in hand with thoughtful behaviour. Petit Futé has selected for you the Top 10 sustainable destinations for responsible holidays

Palau

Oceania is one of the world's most ethical destinations and a must for eco-travellers. The archipelago is betting on the development of blue tourism. The crystalline waters and coral reefs are forbidden to fishing. A stay in this earthly paradise is also a great opportunity to observe a multitude of multicoloured fish during snorkeling sessions. The forests are just as beautiful and unspoiled, as are the long sandy beaches. You will also be able to stay in small hotels with an indigenous and environmentally friendly style.

Tanzania

Forests, lakes, mountains and natural parks are its main tourist attractions. Here nature is queen and the country has understood that it has to protect it. Thus, it has opted for responsible tourism that has a low impact on the environment and helps local stakeholders. Thanks to its large parks, the country protects an impressive concentration of wild animals that can be observed by making an eco-safari. Other experiences are offered in Tanzania, always with the greatest respect for nature and people, such as meeting the Maasai or trekking on the unavoidable Kilimanjaro

Saint Lucia (Caribbean)

This paradisiacal island, which is still unknown to the general public (probably not for long!), offers an intact and rural charm, still preserved. Its particularly rich and fragrant flora, its emerald green mountains and its sublime beaches are the subject of sustained protection and invite you to travel responsibly. Hiking allows you to discover the great wealth of the island, strolling in the tropical forest, along the rivers or stopping for a refreshing moment at the foot of the waterfalls. Everyone is invited to move around with the greatest respect for the natural elements, and to simply marvel at the breathtaking panoramas before plunging into the turquoise waters

Iceland

First nation in the world in terms of the use of renewable energies, the Island of Ice and Fire is frequently rewarded for its "sustainable development" and "ethical" approach to tourism. Icelanders are imbued with a high level of ecological awareness. During a trip to this northern island, one discovers nature in its purest state, and the great beauty of the landscapes can only invite the deepest respect. As soon as they enter the territory, travellers are invited to commit themselves to sustainable tourism. A behaviour respectful of nature that must be shown during the various possible activities such as sailing in the middle of glaciers, visiting the depths of a volcano or even a swim in a hot spring

Botswana

Nicknamed the "Switzerland of Africa", the Democratic Republic of Botswana promotes and supports environmental policies, aiming at ecotourism that respects its incredible wildlife and local populations. It is not for nothing that the country hosted the 10th Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) in 2016. The incredible landscapes of the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park and the presence of wildlife in large numbers are all reasons for Botswana to encourage travellers to adopt responsible behaviour during their expeditions and to promote the construction of lodges according to very strict standards.

Madagascar

An authentic and preserved destination, the island of Madagascar offers an astonishing diversity of landscapes, a fabulous living sanctuary (5% of the world's animal species) and infrastructures adapted to responsible tourism. The island thus offers the possibility of staying in hotels offered by locals or directly with the inhabitants of the villages. Many circuits also propose to cross the island and the reserves protected by Madagascar National Parks. The price of the entries partly finances the preservation of the places. The purchase of handicrafts and local products is also a great way to make the inhabitants live, while enjoying the best that Madagascar has to offer

Slovenia

Spared by mass tourism, Slovenia offers protected nature and is opening up more and more towards sustainable practices, including the creation of eco-labels. The Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, was elected European Green Capital in 2016; a city which has been particularly distinguished by its policy of sustainable mobility and improved air quality. In a country where 60% of the territory is covered by forests and 800 animal species live together, biodiversity is in excellent shape. As far as accommodation is concerned, establishments receive the Slovenia Green label from the government if they meet standards that are beneficial to the environment. Slovenia is undoubtedly a preferred destination for those seeking to engage in ecotourism in Central Europe

Lithuania

Between the east and west of Europe, still little known to French tourists, this small Baltic country is home to many natural treasures. For example, you can hike in the Curonian Spit: the largest wandering dunes in Europe, a breathtakingly unspoilt environment. Whether you decide to go to the shores of a crystal-clear lake, a mysterious swamp or century-old forests, there are a thousand ways to realize that in Lithuania man lives in harmony with nature. The Lithuanian coastline, although not very extensive, is also worth a visit. The protected natural area on the Curonian Spit reveals sand dunes that are home to many rare birds and plants

Costa Rica

Famous ecotourism destination, Costa Rica is a mecca for biodiversity, a true paradise for nature lovers. The country has adopted a certification label for tourism sustainability in order to classify companies according to their consumption of natural resources. Nature-loving travellers enjoy exploring the tropical rainforest and its coastline and pristine beaches overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. The discovery of national parks can be done after spending the night in ecological accommodation. In Costa Rica, ecotourism is a political choice, making the country a world reference in the field.

New Zealand

The nation of New Zealand is relying heavily on green tourism: many examples of sustainable development are flourishing throughout the country. The challenge for Kiwis is to preserve their magnificent landscapes, their exceptional biodiversity and their Maori culture. Even though the country is on the other side of the world, it has become a leading destination for nature lovers and ecotourism enthusiasts. How can you not fall in love with the beauty of the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park and the Tasman Glacier, which covers 40% of Mount Cook National Park? Responsible camping and trekking will delight those who like to spend time on the shores of lakes and rivers in Nelson Lakes National Park

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