Local authorities in some of the world's top tourist destinations are beginning to take matters of environmental protection into their own hands.
Both local government and nonprofit organizations are banding together in the fight against pollution. Efforts to sustain tourism to favorite destinations without harmful effects to the local environment, as well as culture and social interactions, are the main focus for the most recent campaigns.
Mallorca Promotes Environmental Protection and Tourism
In order to maintain sustainable tourism in the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is promoting a campaign that promotes environmental protection. Environment friendly tourism in heavily traveled areas is important for the overall atmosphere of tourist areas. Island tourist locations tend to take more abuse from tourism than most other areas. The new campaign, developed by Palma's Tourism Institute, IMTUR, is called "Palma, Responsible Tourism." The World Tourism Organization also supports the initiative. The primary goal is to encourage tourists to be more environmentally responsible in Palma.
A few of the program's objectives are:
* Educate tourists and residents on water consumption.
* Promote Palma and Mallorca as a prime tourism destination that places emphasis on protecting the environment and the Mediterranean.
* Encourage environmentally safe tourism once tourists arrive.
* Decrease carbon levels and air pollution from vehicles.
* Increase energy awareness and introduce energy conservation practices.
This was not a comprehensive list, only examples of what tourists can expect from the "Palma, Responsible Tourism" campaign. The program includes incentives, activities, competitions and a cycling event available to all interested tourists. Palma Town Hall will donate 1 euro to the campaign for every tourist that takes part in activities related to the campaign.
Other Environment Friendly Vacation Locations
Palma's campaign may be new to the Balearic Islands, but the general idea is not new to other tourist destinations around the world. Whether it is referred to as "environment friendly tourism" or "ecotourism," the end result is the same. The general idea is to introduce tourists to recycling and other activities that will help sustain tourism in their favorite destinations. In protecting their favorite vacation spots, tourists also help to protect neighboring rivers, streams, wildlife and communities from potential harm caused by pollution.
Similar campaigns exist in the Caribbean. One development firm was quoted as saying sustainability is "finding the right balance between the need for development and the need for environmental protection." Overdevelopment of a destination can lead to a drastic downfall of the quality of vacations available to tourists. Locally owned shops and fisheries on the Caribbean Islands have joined the efforts to help combat the negative effects of mass tourism.
Resorts and hotels on Malta promote environment friendly tourism by setting a high standard for their guests and employees. Water and energy conservation are very high on the list, as are reuse and recycling. Employees and guests are urged to turn off lights in rooms that aren't being used and to ensure water has been used conservatively and turned off when not in use. Recycling bins are placed in hotel rooms, and guests are encouraged to use only environment friendly, recyclable containers.
Environment Friendly Hotels and Resorts
Each passing year sees more hotels and resorts join the fight against pollution. Environmental agencies have begun offering initiatives and awards to hotels and resorts that go the extra mile to protect the environment. The very environment they seek to protect is the one that draws more tourists to their location year after year.
With the ski season just around the corner, it's worth noting that several U.S. ski resorts have earned awards from environmental protection agencies recognizing the work they put into protecting the environment and local forests. Their efforts include using environment friendly cleaning products and recyclable take-out boxes, cups and flatware, as well as encouraging reuse of linens and towels and composting kitchen scraps with wood chips for use in landscaping. In all, eight U.S. ski resorts were recognized by Clif Bar & Company for environmental excellence.