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Green Travel Trends for 2011

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Looking ahead to 2011 and wondering what some of the hot topics in green travel?

According to delegates at Europe’s first eco-tourism conference held in Estonia, some of the trends they expect to see in 2011:

Zero Carbon Hotels

Climate change is not going away and tourism is one industry that is at risk from the threat of global warming. There are zero carbon hotels opening in Europe. As governments introduce incentives for green businesses and pressure grows on the travel industry to green-up its act, expect to see more travel businesses focusing on eliminating, reducing and measuring their carbon footprint from 2011 and beyond.

In fact, there are even plans for positive-impact hotels in Asia. URBN Hotels & Resorts announced plans for a new green hotel that will become the first positive-impact hotel in China. The hotel is slated to open Spring 2012 in Shanghai and will “aim to go beyond sustainability … the hotel will increase the biodiversity of the site, and will discharge water that is cleaner than the water from the city’s water supply.”

Voluntourism

2011 will be about the experience. Maximizing the positive impact of travel while minimizing the negative. Voluntourism or volunteer tourism enables travlelers to contribute and benefit local communities while seeing the world and is expected to increase as travelers look for more meaningful ways to travel and contribute to local communities. Expect to see more volunteer activities integrated into green and sustainable travel programs through 2011 – and not just those aimed at backpackers and gap year students.

Slow Travel

Again the experience theme – more and more travel businesses are recognizing that traveling can be more than just about getting from point A to B. Expect to see more businesses promoting slow, memorable travel where “getting there” becomes just as important part of the trip.

Local Travel Movement

The local travel movement aims to connect tourists with local people while on holiday, ensuring enriching experiences for both parties. Movements like couch surfing has been popular in the past few years. Proponents of local travel believe the only truly green way to travel is to respect local traditions, culture and the natural environment.

[greentravelblog]
photo credit: victoriapeckham


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One Comment »

  • Ron Mader said:

    I would agree 100% that the notions of Slow and Local Travel will be popular in 2011. That said, I think concepts such as voluntourism and zero carbon hotels are apt to be debated. Example – while much is said about the positive impact of volunteering, there have also been recent case studies that suggest that the traveler actually does more harm than good.

    It’s time to address what we can do better and what we have done well. Can we learn from the mistakes about the mistakes made in voluntourism … mistakes made by travelers, organizations and the communities.

    Our proposal: let’s highlight meaningful discussions about volunteering and tourism in 2011 starting with Responsible Tourism Week 2011. Suggestions please! Let us know where and when volunteering is being discussed in relation to tourism. We would like to call attention to examples of good practices around the world and ask who takes the responsibility when things do not work out.

    Detailson the Planeta Wiki
    http://planeta.wikispaces.com/volunteer

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