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This week: summer holidays with the environment at heart

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2009-07-20

A taste of Asia without emitting hardly any carbon dioxide, a holiday where you cycle for your supper, or one that helps sustain traditions and tribes, ENVIRONMENT looks at ecological holidays.

Eco-tourism, a form of holiday making that respects nature’s beauty and the protection of it and the local population is a sector that has been increasing some 20% every year since 1990.


Over 9 million foreign visitors traveled to South Africa in 2008, an 8 percent increase on 2006 and numbers are only expected to increase as it plays host to the Football World Cup in 2010. As the tourists throng in, some centers are promoting eco-tourism. ENVIRONMENT visits one centre where eggs are powered up on solar cookers and smoothies are made using a blender powered by a bicycle.


Europe’s largest canyon, the Gorges du Verdon, dip a dizzying 250 to 700 meters, a marvel that leaves a long chain of cliffs and hairpin-bend rivers to water raft and explore. Attracting over 1 million visitors a year, it’s a paradise for those seeking a bit of adventure but the excitement is proving all too much for the regions fish which are swimming away.


Sometimes then our holidays can have a negative impact on the environment we visit – but this is not always the case. One NGO, Grassroutes, in India has started to bring tourists to remote mountain villages, the holidaymakers providing a source of income that is helping to sustain traditions and tribes.



Date created : 2009-07-20