Greening Your Travels – AAA Recommends the GSTC Framework
Greening Your Travels: Sustainable Tourism Strategies to Help you Travel More Responsibly
1. SELECT YOUR DESTINATION THOUGHTFULLY
A growing number of destinations are working to encourage sustainable and responsible tourism. Among those leading the way is the Central European country of Slovenia. A whopping 31 of its cities and regions are among the 2019 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 (sustainabletop100.org), a list compiled by sustainability experts at Green Destinations. The Netherlands and Portugal also have numerous entries in the Top 100.
Green Destinations and other independent organizations such as EarthCheck and Vireo Srl certify sustainable destinations using criteria developed by the nonprofit Global Sustainable Travel Council (GSTC). The list of criteria is extensive, but the main themes are sustainable management, environmental impact, social and economic impact, and cultural impact, says GSTC CEO Randy Durband.
4. STAY IN ECO-FRIENDLY LODGINGS
Sustainable lodging properties are built using local materials, practices and laborers. They landscape with native plants, minimize energy use, purchase environmentally responsible products and avoid single-use plastics. They purchase from local businesses. These are just a few of the GSTC criteria used by independent third parties to certify sustainable hotels and tour operators.
How do you find sustainable lodgings? You can check online to see if a hotel or resort is certified sustainable, or you can reach out to a travel agent to help you find appropriate lodgings. EarthCheck, Green Globe and Rainforest Alliance are a few certifications to look for.