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Ecotourism is a form of responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of local people, and involves interpretation and education. It aims to minimize the negative impacts of tourism while promoting conservation efforts and supporting local communities. Ecotourism typically involves activities such as wildlife viewing, hiking, bird watching, and visiting protected areas like national parks and nature reserves.

The key principles of ecotourism include:

Overall, ecotourism seeks to create positive experiences for travelers while simultaneously contributing to the conservation of natural resources, preservation of cultural heritage, and socio-economic development of host communities. By promoting responsible travel practices and supporting sustainable tourism initiatives, ecotourism can play a crucial role in fostering conservation and sustainable development worldwide.

How can I make a difference in ecotourism?

Making a difference in ecotourism can be achieved through various actions, both as an individual traveler and as a member of the tourism industry.

Here are some ways you can contribute to promoting and practicing ecotourism:

Choose Responsible Tour Operators: When planning your trips, opt for tour operators and accommodations that demonstrate a commitment to environmental conservation, community engagement, and sustainable practices. Look for certifications such as ecotourism certifications or memberships in organizations promoting sustainable tourism.

Respect Nature and Wildlife: Follow guidelines and regulations when visiting natural areas and wildlife habitats. Avoid disturbing wildlife, stay on designated trails, and refrain from littering or leaving behind any waste. Remember that you are a guest in their home.

Support Local Communities: Choose locally-owned businesses, accommodations, and tour operators whenever possible. By supporting local economies, you contribute directly to the well-being of communities and help preserve their cultural heritage.

Minimize Your Environmental Impact: Reduce your carbon footprint by opting for eco-friendly transportation options, such as public transportation, cycling, or walking, whenever feasible. Conserve resources by minimizing water usage, energy consumption, and waste generation during your travels.

Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the environmental and cultural significance of the places you visit. Educate yourself on local conservation efforts, wildlife protection initiatives, and sustainable tourism practices. Share this knowledge with fellow travelers and encourage them to adopt responsible behaviors.

Participate in Conservation Activities: Volunteer for conservation projects or community-based initiatives during your travels. This could involve participating in beach clean-ups, tree planting activities, or wildlife monitoring programs organized by local organizations or national parks.

Advocate for Sustainable Tourism Policies: Support policies and initiatives that promote sustainable tourism practices at local, national, and international levels. Advocate for the protection of natural areas, wildlife habitats, and cultural heritage sites through public awareness campaigns and community engagement efforts.

Leave a Positive Impact: Leave a positive impact on the places you visit by contributing to local conservation efforts or community development projects. Consider donating to local conservation organizations or participating in responsible tourism initiatives that give back to the communities you visit.

By incorporating these practices into your travel experiences and encouraging others to do the same, you can make a meaningful difference in promoting and supporting ecotourism principles and contributing to the conservation of our planet's natural and cultural heritage.

Responsible tour operators

Responsible tour operators are those that prioritize environmental conservation, social responsibility, and cultural preservation in their operations.

Here are some characteristics and practices of responsible tour operators:

By choosing responsible tour operators for your travels, you can support businesses that are committed to promoting sustainable tourism practices and making a positive impact on the environment, local communities, and cultural heritage sites.

Hurtigruten Expeditions

Meaningful Change

As a result, we are now supporting 41 environmental, cultural and social projects in 11 different countries. These range from helping endangered orcas in the Pacific Northwest and protecting Galápagos seabirds, to securing safe spaces for vulnerable Greenlandic children and enabling community storytelling for the Itquamavit elders in Canada’s frozen north. We hope that the ripples we create today will one day turn into the waves of the future.

With the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as our compass, our cruises to the planet’s most stunning corners are where explorers can truly feel at home. After all, it’s not about us, it’s about all of us.

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Saying Goodbye to Plastic

We announced our war on plastics in 2018 when we were the first expedition company to ban non-essential single-use plastic throughout our entire operation. That means you won’t find items like plastic cups, plastic straws or plastic cutlery on board our ships. You also won’t see our shops selling microplastic-made fleeces but stocking natural wool clothing instead.

Absent too are plastic water bottles. We provide all our guests on an expedition cruise with a complimentary high-quality reusable bottle for use at water refill stations dotted around the ship. This simple act saves at least 1,000 plastic bottles a day on some of our larger ships.

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Inspiring Environmental Ambassador

Witnessing the beauty of our planet is sure to leave a lasting impression on you, and you’ll talk enthusiastically about these stunning destinations with friends and family for decades to come. To make sure you can speak informatively when you return home, every one of our expedition cruises has a focus on the environment.

The Expedition Team give lectures that raise awareness of climate change, ocean plastic, and the measures we can all take to help ease these issues. It is our hope that engaging with nature on our expedition cruises will inspire you to do all you can to cherish and protect the precious world we all share.

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Connecting With Communities

We are dedicated to supporting the local communities we visit, and to creating beneficial ripple effects that continue long after we’ve left. By trading locally and sourcing services such as food produce and excursions from local suppliers, we contribute to the livelihood and welfare of people.

We strive not only to connect with these communities, but to share genuine friendship with them while always respecting their values and customs. As guests in their home, our emphasis is on appreciating their unique culture and ensuring our interactions are positive and upbuilding for all. You can therefore enjoy authentic experiences knowing your visit is doing good, both for you and for them.

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A Footprint We're Proud Of

You’ll likely encounter a range of wildlife during your expedition, doing so from a safe distance. We’ll be sure to never get too close to them, out of respect for their welfare as much as yours. By not disturbing wildlife with our presence, you’ll be able to observe their natural behaviour, in their natural habitat. We want to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures! In fact, in many of the areas we visit in Antarctica, we even specifically wipe out our footprints so as to prevent penguins tripping and falling into them.

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Working Together As One

Sustainability isn’t something we can do alone. Everyone in our industry needs to work together for a greener future. We are therefore founding members of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). These trade member organizations work to establish sustainable tourism in polar regions, fighting mass tourism by limiting ships and shore visits, and creating guidelines that protect fragile environments and rare wildlife.

We’ve also committed ourselves to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These guiding principles will take us steps ahead of current regulations to offer you greener and more sustainable expedition cruises on and for the planet.

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Serving Planet-Friendly Plant-Based Food

We offer full menus of delicious plant-based dishes that will impress even those yet to be convinced by this way of eating. These meals not only have low or even zero CO2 footprints, they also promote healthier living and prove conclusively that vegan and vegetarian cuisine can still taste great. We’ve also put in place food management waste programmes on all our ships, aiming to reduce food waste by at least 30%.

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Investing in Green Tech

Building our two new hybrid-powered expedition ships, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, represents the biggest investment in our almost 130 years of history. They are packed with ground-breaking green technology, such as battery packs, heat recovery systems, and a cutting-edge hull design. These innovations combined reduce carbon emissions by more than 20 %, compared to other cruise ships of the same size. Hurtigruten stopped using heavy fuel oil more than a decade ago and campaign for its worldwide ban. To set a new standard, we are also considering a range of new, green fuel options, including biofuels made from organic waste.

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Doing Your Part

There are a range of simple things you can get involved in during your cruise to do your bit. Help out on a beach clean-up where the refuse we collect is brought back onto the ship to be recycled. Citizen Science projects get you to observe our natural world closely and contribute to current research.

Even hanging a tag on your cabin door to say your towels and bed sheets don’t need changing can save energy and water. You also have the option to donate to the Hurtigruten Foundation which funds projects around the world.

We are setting a new, more sustainable standard for expedition cruising. You can be sure we will continue with our commitment to sustainability; leading the way with green tech, protecting our planet, supporting local communities, and inspiring more to action. With the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as our compass, our cruises to the planet’s most stunning corners are where explorers can truly feel at home.

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French cruise ship operator Ponant has become the world’s first cruise line to earn a Green Globe certification.

All of Ponant’s cruise ships have obtained the Green Globe certification, an international standard for travel and tourism stakeholders, in recognition of its commitment to responsible tourism.

“Green Globe certification, a global tourism industry standard, is a key element of our commitment to ensuring accountability for our actions,” said Wassim Daoud , head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability at Ponant .

“It’s important for our guests and also for continuing to encourage the whole maritime sector to realize its environmental transition .

Ponant’s commitment to responsible tourism

“What sets this certification apart is that it is based on continuous improvement. While our goal this year was to obtain it, the major challenge in the coming years will be to keep it.”

Since 2019, Ponant’s entire fleet has been using low-sulfur marine gas oil (LS-MGO), which has a sulfur content below 0.05 percent. This is 13 times lower than current maritime standards and significantly limits the fleet’s atmospheric impact.

Per a press release, Ponant was the world’s first cruise line to abandon heavy fuel oil. Also, the company has equipped its whole fleet with catalytic systems to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, while shore power connection systems in ports means engines can be switched off.

Ponant aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent per cruise day by 2030 compared to 2018.

The company has also reduced waste production by gradually phasing out single-use plastics. In 2022, nearly 390,000 single-use bottles were avoided.

Launched in 1998, the Green Globe standard assesses the sustainability of business operations based on 44 criteria and 380 indicators organized around four pillars – sustainable management, social and economic performance, cultural heritage, and the environment.

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Our EverGreen journey

Alaska Airlines has always focused on running our business to care for all who depend on us, including our planet. We strive to reduce our negative impacts on the environment, increase our positive ones, and inspire others to be part of the solution.

Airlines are companies that provide air transport services for passengers and cargo. They play a fundamental role in the global transportation network, connecting people and goods across vast distances efficiently and quickly. Here are some key aspects of airlines:

Passenger Services: Airlines transport passengers to domestic and international destinations via scheduled flights. They offer various classes of service, such as economy, premium economy, business class, and first class, each with different levels of comfort and amenities. Airlines strive to provide a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable travel experience for their passengers.

Cargo Services: In addition to passenger transport, airlines also transport cargo, including goods, packages, and freight. Cargo services play a vital role in global trade and logistics, facilitating the movement of goods between countries and continents. Airlines offer specialized cargo aircraft or designate space in passenger aircraft for cargo shipments.

Flight Operations: Airlines operate fleets of aircraft to serve their routes and destinations. They manage flight schedules, crew assignments, and aircraft maintenance to ensure the safe and efficient operation of their flights. Airlines may operate a variety of aircraft types, including narrow-body, wide-body, and regional jets, tailored to different route lengths and passenger capacities.

Ticketing and Reservations : Airlines sell tickets to passengers through various channels, including their own websites, travel agencies, and online booking platforms. Passengers can make reservations, purchase tickets, select seats, and manage their bookings through airline websites or mobile apps. Airlines also offer loyalty programs and frequent flyer rewards to incentivize repeat business and customer loyalty.

Regulatory Compliance: Airlines must comply with various regulations and standards established by aviation authorities and governing bodies. These regulations cover aspects such as safety, security, passenger rights, environmental protection, and fair competition. Airlines work closely with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Industry Trends: The airline industry is subject to various trends and challenges, including fluctuations in fuel prices, changes in consumer preferences, advancements in technology, and global economic conditions. Key trends in the industry include the expansion of low-cost carriers, the development of sustainable aviation initiatives, and the adoption of digital technologies to enhance the passenger experience.

Sustainability Initiatives: Airlines are increasingly focusing on sustainability initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and promote responsible business practices. These initiatives may include investments in fuel-efficient aircraft, alternative fuels, carbon offset programs, waste reduction efforts, and community engagement projects. Airlines recognize the importance of environmental stewardship and are taking steps to mitigate their carbon footprint and support sustainable development.

In conclusion, airlines play a crucial role in connecting people and goods around the world, facilitating travel, trade, and economic growth. While facing various challenges and uncertainties, airlines continue to innovate and adapt to meet the evolving needs of passengers and the global marketplace.

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