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10.15.2007

GREEN AND PRODUCTIVE TOURISM

Karen Christensen, author of The Armchair Environmentalist, suggests the following to minimize the environmental negatives of tourism while maximizing the socioeconomic benefits for both travellers and hosts:

1. Choose a destination in which you and your family are truly interested. Don’t just “do the sights” because everybody else has been there.

2. Travel to learn. Engage fully with a place and its people, history, natural surroundings, and culture. Master at least a few polite phrases of the local language and read a good guidebook before arrival.

3. Eat local. Sample local specialities, try independent (not franchised) small restaurants off the beaten tourist track, and shop in markets for fruit and snacks.

4. Stay in green hotels. Search the internet for places to stay which have a green policy and features.



5. Try to make connection with local people. This can be done through colleagues, associations, hobby groups, etc. and can make a big difference to your stay.

6. Conserve resources. When you leave your room, turn off lights and air-conditioning. Don’t touch those little shampoo bottles at the hotel; they use too much packaging. Most hotels offer guests options on laundering linens and towels daily and it is not usually necessary to do so.

7. Try a home exchange. You will save money and have a richer experience.

8. Explore new options. For a real change of routine, stay on an organic farm and help with planting or harvesting, volunteer with a group building housing for the disadvantaged, or offer expertise to an aid organization or school.

9. Buy appropriate souvenirs, dealing directly with craftsperson. Things that find daily use will be appreciated the most by those at home.
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