UPDATE: It's World Tourism Day -- 5 unpretentious ways to be an eco-friendly tourist
By Kari Paul, MarketWatch
UN Secretary General Taleb Rifai called for tourism to be a force for good
It's World Tourism Day, and United Nations Secretary General Taleb Rifai is calling for a new approach to tourism that's sustainable, creates jobs and preserves culture. "How can we enable this powerful global transformative force?" Rifai asked in a video message.
Sustainable tourism is increasingly a focus of travel, with the United Nations declaring 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/travel/where-sustainable-travel-is-headed-in-2017.html). The number of tourists climbed to a record 1.2 billion international travelers (http://www2.unwto.org/tourism4development2017) in 2015, up from 674 million in 2000. As more people are aware of the impact that travel and tourism has on our planet, the need to minimize harm increases.
Here are five ways to travel the globe while also making it a better place:
1. Choose a 'green' destination
Ecotourism -- responsible travel to natural destinations with minimal effects on the environment and people there -- is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization. Since the 1990s, natural travel has increased at an annual rate of 10% to 20% while standard tourism increased at an annual rate of 4%, the World Resources Institute found.
Mario Gavira, managing director of travel search engine liligo.com (http://liligo.com/), said many travelers want to see destinations that are threatened by climate change before they disappear -- without contributing to climate change itself while doing so. This is leading more people to choose "green" destinations, which have eco-friendly choices like public transit and sustainable initiatives -- like the island Dominica, as well as Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Kathmandu, Botswana, Palau, and the Galapagos Islands. "Travelers want to go home feeling confident that they left the area just as beautiful as they found it," Gavira said.