Sustainable Travel

Under the Global Microscope

The romantic mystique and allure of travelling to unknown destinations continues to charm a growing number of consumers exploring our world. Despite the drone of fear mongers, political instability and cumbersome security measures, the exuberant dreams of modern man imagining what is around the next bend in the road seems undaunted. Along with this evolving passion, travellers are becoming ever more acquainted with the impact of their invasion on distant communities, protected habitats and the environment in general. As a result, the travel and tourism industries find themselves under the global microscope like never before.

As the famous Sesame Street character Kermit the Frog once said in double entendre, “It’s not easy being green”. With so many definitions of “sustainable” or “green” travel, consumers have been caught in these shifting sands of commercial convenience. Over the last quarter century, many tourism entrepreneurs have discovered that by using environmental elements woven into marketing schemes, they could reap the financial benefits of the burgeoning Baby Boomer clientele. This no longer works. There is a feisty generation following their Boomer parents and demanding more knowledge, more data and more sensitivity to global concerns.

So, what is sustainable travel in the most altruistic form? For the answer, we must first stop at The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in Washington. D.C. the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to disseminating information about sustainable tourism. They direct our attention to the Central American democracy of Costa Rica, where many of the sustainable tourism standards began.