How to choose truly eco-friendly tourism partners

Earth Day is around the corner and according to tourism development expert Shannon Guihan of the not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation, responsible eco-tourism is possible.

“All tourism causes an impact and so it’s important for travelers to understand what companies are doing to not only limit that impact but to ensure that travel benefits communities,” Guihan says. “When it comes to choosing travel partners who reflect their own values, consumers should get past the hype and know the facts.”

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If you’re getting ready to plan your summer travel planning, Guihan shares tips for choosing responsible travel companies:

Choose travel companies that have eliminated single-use plastics

According to a report by the World Economic Forum says Guihan, if nothing is done to push back against the deluge of plastics currently overwhelming our oceans, “There could be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.”

Her advice, choose travel companies that are eliminating single-use plastics, like the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and river cruise company Uniworld, both who have vowed to eradicate all single-use plastics by 2022.

Choose travel companies committed to wildlife protection and preservation

Guihan says when it comes to wildlife, understanding where the situation is most urgent is critical.

“In the last four years alone, poaching has destroyed an estimated 12% of the African rhino population,” she continues. Guihan cites two companies – African Travel and Lion World Travel, whose efforts are directly helping rhino conservation.

For every couple that books an African Travel visit to Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa, the company donates $50 per couple towards the building of a rhino boma, an enclosure used to rehabilitate injured or orphaned rhinos until they can be released.

Choose travel companies empowering local economies

Travelers should make a commitment to support local economies.

“Many travelers do not realize the impact of the artisan sector on local economies. After agriculture, this sector is the largest employer in the developing world, responsible for sales of $32 billion annually,” says Guihan.

TreadRight, along with associates like global guided vacation company Trafalgar, are empowering local economies through their curated and personalized itineraries and tours.

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