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WORLDWIDE ECO-TOURISM VACATION OPTIONS & TRAVEL READING
A selection of eco-tourism resorts and smaller establishments contributing to eco-tourism.  Follow the menus, read articles on Eco-Tourism or visit our Eco Links.
Specialists in humanitarian airfares, Key Travel been arranging humanitarian travel for organizations large and small for over 30 years.

Over 1500 humanitarian organisations benefit from Key Travel's fares. Their clients are as diverse as their requirements and include humanitarian organisations involved in international aid and development, medical advancement, animal care as well as arts and culture.

Articles on Eco-Tourism:

5 natural wonders of the Swedish world
Behind the Scenes of Costa Rica at Curu Wildlife Refuge
Belize - The Ultimate Eco-Friendly Destination
Eco Hotels: the Environment Friendly Features That Really Make a Difference
Ecotourism in South Africa - Responsible Tourism
Ecotourism - Good for Everyone
Ecotourism uncovered
Saving The Philippine Eagle From Extinction
Volunteer in Bolivia Can Help Eco-Tourism and Conservation

Eco-Tourism web sites that we like:

Click here to see how you can help!
Click to Save the Rainforest!
Care2 Eco-links Travel
African Conservation.com
The Portal for the Conservation of Africa's Flora and Fauna
Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar/Tanzania
Private conservation project & Eco-Tourism venture created to  protect and manage
Chumbe Island and the Chumbe Reef  Sanctuary, one of the most beautiful shallow coral gardens
in the world
Eco Sustainable Hub
A comprehensive one-stop web connection to resources and
tools on the environment and sustainability
Discovery Travel and Eco-Tourism, Jordan
The Enchanted Isles
Find comprehensive information on Vieques and Culebra, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean's best kept secrets of eco-tourism. How to get there, where to stay, and what to do while you're there.
Whale Shark Research Group
Tourism Industry Association Nova Scotia
Eco Hotels: the Environment Friendly Features That Really Make a Difference   by Neil Tufano

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You recycle at home, drive a more environmentally friendly car and save energy whenever you can. When you travel, the hotel industry is increasingly aware that you expect to see clear demonstrations of environmentally friendly good practice. The best news of all is that eco hotels can actually offer an enhanced visitor experience. Here are five 'green' features that distinguish the best eco friendly hotels from the others.

1. Eco Friendly Hotels harmonise with nature

From a relaxing location amid well-managed woodland to recycling of rain water, eco friendly hotels offer a total environment that harmonises with and responds to nature. From the hotel's commitment to be as 'green' as possible, to each individual recycling bin, eco friendly hotels respect nature and prove it in the small details.

2. Truly 'green' hotels support the environment

The best eco friendly hotels feature grounds where guests are encouraged to experience nature. This leads to a greater appreciation and understanding of our environment, and contributes to the ongoing conservation of natural areas. Enlightened eco hotels offer more than just a great night's sleep; they set guests thinking about the environment and how we can all work to preserve it for future generations.

3. Eco accommodation helps minimise consumption of materials

It's probably one of the most obvious aspects of true 'green' status, and one of the easiest to implement. A hotel that is committed to the environment will be making a serious attempt to minimise consumption of materials: rainwater harvesting, recycling (by the hotel and guests alike), and the use of sustainable products prove your hotel cares for the environment.

4. Your eco hotel should have a proactive environmental policy

Genuinely 'green' hotels will have a proactive environmental policy that is easily accessible to guests and staff alike. Above all, the hotel can show that it follows its own environmental policy; the hotel team should be trained in 'green' thinking and will actively encourage guests to be as 'green' as possible.

5. An eco friendly hotel won't sacrifice luxury and room comfort

With an enlightened approach, there's no reason why eco accommodation should sacrifice comfort and luxury. Comfy beds ensure a great night's sleep while helping the environment through active sheet re-use programmes; luxury bathrooms use recycled rain water for toilet flushing, while towel re-use schemes cut unnecessary laundering. Modern allergy awareness helps hotel management choose healthy furnishings and cleaning materials, while nice grounds and wonderful views promote the natural environment.

Next time you're travelling, choose an eco hotel, enjoy a great night's accommodation and do your bit for eco tourism. Above all, look for environmentally friendly hotel characteristics alongside the usual secure parking, convenience and broadband access. Sleep well, enjoy a clear environmental conscience and have a great trip.

The Winford Manor Hotel, near Bristol, England, is a true eco hotel offering the features mentioned above (and more). Set in seven acres of stunning parkland near Bristol and Bath, its location close to Bristol Airport makes it the natural choice.

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Ecotourism uncovered   by BBC Green

ECOTOURISM UNCOVERED

From sustainable safaris to eco beach breaks responsible holidays are more popular than ever, but do they really deliver what they promise? What is ecotourism?

The closest thing to an official definition of ecotourism comes from The International Ecotourism Society's: "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people".

In other words, ecotourism is about making trips that support the ecology and people of the area. What are the rules?

There aren't any - unlike organic or Fairtrade, the term ecotourism isn't legally binding or controlled by certification bodies. In the words of EcoTravel.com:

"The problem is there are no universally accepted standards for the definition of ecotourism. This is how an 'eco-lodge' may dump untreated sewage in a river and still call itself 'eco' simply because it is located in a natural setting."

That's not to say that many eco tourism operators are unethical, just that using the phrase guarantees nothing. Moreover, even if there were a formal set of rules and an official ecotourism logo, there would still be at least one obvious ethical conundrum: flying. Can a holiday be responsible if you need to fly to get there?

In an era of climate change, this is the elephant in the room. Two flights from London to South Africa release the equivalent of around six tonnes of CO2 - as much as a UK home causes annually. (Read more: Should I Give up Flying)

Climate change is expected to drive a third of land animals and plants into extinction by 2050 - shocking facts like this make long-haul holidays and environmental protection hard to reconcile. Of course, it's possible to offset the damage caused by your flights, but whether this is a legitimate response is open to debate (Read more: 60 Second Guide to Carbon Offsetting and The Truth About Carbon Offsetting). How can tourists preserve environments?

Advocates of ecotourism argue that, despite the impact of aviation, travellers can make a positive different to the environments they visit. It is certainly true that nature tourists can provide an economic incentive for landowners and governments to protect ecosystems.

If tourists are coming to admire flora and fauna, and spending money while they're there, then the value of those plants and animals increases. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is among those who believe there would be no mountain gorillas left were it not for ecotourism.

But critics say that the environment doesn't always benefit. With no reliable certification body, it can be hard to distinguish between a genuine eco-trip and an unscrupulous tour operator jumping on the "green" bandwagon. Many so-called ecotourism businesses are owned and controlled by foreign companies who are more interested in profit than conservation.

When the proceeds from ecotourism are not retained in local communities and environments, the results can be detrimental.

Then there's the extra environmental impact of flying to consider. Whether any eco benefits from the trip can outweigh the damage simply caused by getting to that destination is for each person to decide. What about the impact on local people?

Travel companies offering ecotourism trips usually make claims about the benefits provided to the local communities in the places visited. Some even go so far as to refer to their holidays as being fair trade.

Generally, such claims are based on the company favouring small-scale, locally run hotels and other services, rather than relying on corporate or foreign-owned establishments.

Not everyone is convinced about the social benefits of ecotourism. Survival International and others campaigning for the rights of indigenous people, claim that conservation of areas has been linked with uprooting tribal people from their ancestral land. Does ecotourism open up new tourist areas?

One other bone of contention around ecotourism is the long-term impact of establishing tourist destinations in largely undeveloped areas. Even if the first companies to explore an area operate ethically, they may encourage other, less scrupulous, operators to set up in the similar locations.

A study by Conservation International and the United National Environment Program found that holidays to biodiversity hotspots more than doubled in the 1990s alone, with rises as high as 2000 per cent in some Asian regions. Growth such as this raises questions about the sustainability of nature travel - and not just in terms of aviation.

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