Planning Eco Tours to Asia
What to Know Before You Go on Green Travel to Asia
Already planning your eco tour in Asia? Hold on for a second! It’s important that you know your responsibilities and check behind the labels before you embark on such a tour. These days, the term “eco” has become a fashionable label used extensively in the tourism industry. An eco tour sounds attractive no doubt, but quite a lot of what is marketed as “eco” is nothing but conventional tourism with superficial changes.
So, it is your responsibility to check out tour operators to find out if they are truly committed to environment conservation or if they are merely riding the eco tourism boom to get you on their Asian Eco Tours.
Some of the points to consider before making a move include:
- Does the travel operator use popular words (like eco-friendly, environment, eco tours and others) to describe the company, or does the operator’s home-site at large shows concern for benefit of the environment?
- Is the tour operator certified by recognized travel organizations like the USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association)?
- Does it incorporate sustainable energy practices?
- Does the travel operator arrange for stays in locally operated lodgings?
- Is the company making it clear exactly how they contribute to the local communities?
- Does the operator have a policy about altering or removing anything from the environment?
If a tour operator doesn’t respond satisfactorily to these questions, chances are they may be “greenwashing” – merely using the term “eco-” as a marketing tool!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Responsible Travel in Asia
- Do not disturb animals, plants or their natural habitats.
- Please, think well before buying souvenirs from the jungle or other natural areas! If the souvenirs look as if they have been removed directly from their natural habitat, their purchase is probably illegal. Besides, removing even one element from the eco system can have far-reaching effects on the ecological balance.
- Take only photographs. No graffiti! No litter!
- If you are a seafood connoisseur, consider what eating seafood means. We humans might actually be over-fishing the ocean!
- Complain politely if you are in any way upset about the bad trash problem in the tourism industry of the visiting countries. Being polite might yield better results.
In case you would like to get more information on green travel, we suggest that you check our section on “Eco Travel.”