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Tourism as a whole is a 7.61 trillion-dollar industry, and ecotourism is a rapidly growing category under it. The year 2017 was designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, promoting different trends and movements centered on sustainability across the industry.
As the growing effects of global warming threatens the world’s most pristine travel destinations, the international travel community has realized the urgency to make their move especially after Sustainable Travel International revealed that the industry is responsible for the 5% of the global carbon emissions.
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Sustainable tourism, now termed as “ecotourism,” doesn’t have a clear definition but it focuses on an important aspect: advocating transformative and responsible travel. In addition, it can’t be categorized as just one type of travel, but it’s a form of tourism that enables participants to not only explore natural destinations but to help protect these environments.
The movement has transformed many travel companies as they shift to what is called as “experiential tourism,” which highlights experiences that help travelers understand the environment including the ecosystem that live in it.
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Guided by the measures set by the industry, many ecotourism companies and organizations have reached several milestones in reverting the effects of irresponsible tourism. The results of the early years of this growing movement have brought positive impact to the several travel destinations, with activities that help preserve the environment through education. Accommodations range from eco-friendly resorts, glamping, to all-out backpack camp out adventure.
Some experts believe that the immediate rise of ecotourism can be credited to the digital revolution and how it inspired millions of people around the world to help make a change not only as enthusiastic travelers but as environmentally-responsible human beings.
In many parts of the globe, tourism is a major revenue earner. The likes of the Caribbean, Oceania, and Southeast Asia capitalize on their natural beauty to attract visitors, and their magnificent beaches and islands almost always take the biggest slice of the cake. However, dramatic coastal sceneries are not only found in the tropics. In fact, even in the colder latitudes, seascapes can still be just as stunning. If you’re still trying to complete your bucket list, try visiting any of these surreal coastal utopias:
1. Norway’s Lofoten Islands
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The Lofoten archipelago is considered as one of the planet’s most mesmerizing group of islands because of its glorious mountains and picturesque coastline. The islands’ 160-kilometer rugged mountains are the first sights to see when traversing this coastal gem in northern Norway. Lofoten is a home to natural and surreal phenomena of sounds and sights. If you want to experience the dreamlike midnight sun in the summer or the enthralling northern lights of autumn and spring, then this paradise should be on your bucket list.
2. Italy’s Cinque Terre
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On one of the most beautiful parts of the Italian Riviera sits Cinque Terre, a line of craggy cliffs and stunning coastline named Liguria. The site is a home to five interesting and colorful villages: Riomaggiore, Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia, and Manarola (Çinque Tære literally means “Five Lands”). These towns are inaccessible to cars so tourists have the chance to walk around and along the rocky coastlines while enjoying the tranquil Cinque Terre’s pebbled beaches and the spellbinding cliff-side terraced gardens. It was in 1997 when the Cinque Terre was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast
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The stunning Antrim Coast will take your breath away, thanks to the outstanding natural beauties that surround this travel paradise: its splendid cliffs and spectacular farmlands of equally bucket-list-worthy landmarks. Just nearby is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Northern Ireland’s best known landmark, the world-famous Giant’s Causeway.