World Tourism Day 2020 is dedicated to the topic of Tourism and Rural Development, reminding us of the important role tourism often carries in awakening rural areas around the world. Rural tourism not only drives economic development and creates job opportunities, but contributes to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage that could otherwise be damaged or, even worse, permanently lost. When developing tourism, it is utterly important to do it in a sustainable manner. Let’s take a look at three tourism businesses that managed to incorporate a great number of sustainable practices and develop not only a great tourism business but create an added value to the whole community.
- Rancho Margot Eco Lodge in El Castillo, Costa Rica is an “off the grid paradise” that incorporated sustainability values in every aspect of their business; over 75% of food is grown, harvested, and prepared at the lodge and consumed by workers, residents, and guests on-site; on-site bio-digesters treat the animal waste and produce fertilizers for the ranch; all electricity comes from onsite hydroelectric generators and solar panels; green roofs are used to manage temperature and the natural landscape. Besides ensuring that every part of the lodge itself is maintained sustainably, the activities offered to their visitors also promote sustainability, such as participating in on-farm activities like cow milking or immersion programs that teach how to incorporate sustainability in various aspects of your own life.
- Albergo Diffuso Volterra in Tuscany, Italy has fully embraced “a model of sustainable hospitality and sustainable food, oriented to the future, good for man and the planet.” Their restaurants are 100% plant-based, with all products coming from small local farms and “without damage” in terms of animal exploitation and pollution due to intensive farming practices. When eating at their Bistro, the concept “food by weight” is applied as it allows customers to eat according to their appetite and avoid food waste. The electricity they use is exclusively from renewable and Italian resources, with all the lightning being entirely LED, while all cleaning products are natural and environmentally sustainable. They are eager to protect and promote local history and culture, and inspire their visitors to do the same via participation on tours by 100% electric cars, bike, ebike or a sailing boat.
- Agriturismo Refugio Marnes in Alicante, Spain is agritourism passionate about environment and determent to prove that sustainable tourism in Spain is possible. Their high-tech solar power system ensures a 99% solar-powered holiday; they pay great attention to water and waste management and recycle 85% of all their waste; they prefer stylish design based on earthly materials and they tend to live under the principle of “act local / buy local”. Their mission is not only to be sustainable but to teach it. Therefore, they organize educational workshops and campaigns determined to promote alternative means of travel (instead of flying), local activities, and environmental practices, such as reduced plastic usage.
Happy World Tourism Day!