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Long distance flight to paradise – is that sustainable?

August 22, 2017 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Sun, beach and the sea – depending on your location, those goals could be hard to reach. A long distance flight never is sustainable and can also crush your CO2 balancing achievements in no time. But still, no one is willing to give up holiday destinations that are far away. In addition, travel behavior changed massively in the past decades. According to the World Tourism Organization the number of internationally traveling tourists has increased from 25 million in 1950 to 1,2 billion in 2015.

In order to balance the negative impact of long distance flights, many organizations offer the possibility for carbon offset with the help of climate projects such as myclimate and atmosfair. Adding to that, travelers are given the opportunity to choose a sustainable hotel and support several projects at their destination that stand up for sustainability, whether it happens on a social, economic oder ecologic basis.

Saving corals on the Maldives

In 2014 the Gili Lankanfushi initiated the Coral Lines Project on the Maldives together with marine biologists. Coral reefs belong to the most endangered eco-systems in the world. The reason for this are coral bleach, growing algae, garbage and natural enemies, like the crown-of-thorns starfish. The Coral Lines Project was founded in order to help corals grow and settle and in that matter help to contribute to a healthy reef in the long run. The first steps in this process, are coral pieces that are cultivated on ropes in the depths of the ocean before being transplanted into the coral reef of the Gili Lankanfushi. Guests cannot only learn a lot about corals and their struggles but also get active themselves by strapping corals to the ropes. Later on the development of the corals can be followed on the project’s website with the help of an ID. All of the experiences the marine biologists make are published here.

Lunch for the Baan Laem Tong School

Only five walking minutes separates the Baan Laem Tong elementary school from the Zeavola Resort on Phi Phi Island. The 40 children that are being educated here belong to the ethnic group of sea gypsies. While the teachers are responsible for the school lunch from Monday to ThursdayFriday marks a special day of the week for the kids. This is the day where the staff of Zeavola comes to visit and cooks for the teachers and students. Soup, a main course, dessert and lemonade are on the menu. It is difficult for the small, secluded school to get public funds. For that reason, the Zeavola donates three US Dollars per overnight stay for a lunch. In comparison to other days of the week, food is never short on Fridays. Additionally, guests are welcome to participate in the project actively, for example while helping with the food distribution, where they can simultaneously learn more about the life on Phi Phi Island.

Dedication for ocean and nature

On the 15th of every month, the “Reethi Day” takes place in the Reethi Beach Resort on the Maldives with a variety of events. Whether guests are offered to participate in reef cleanings, organized by the resort’s own diving school or information events about special characteristics of the sensitive eco system. This week a cleaning session was hosted on a neighboring island. Here, guests are welcome to join every measure in order to learn about the nature of the Baa Atoll and contribute to a functioning eco system. Moreover, in 2007 the Reethi Beach Resort also founded a coalition of every diving center and resort in the atoll – the NGO BAARU (Baa Atoll Resorts United) – the goal here is to campaign for the ocean. All participating resorts offer financial and organizational help with re-education programs for former employees of the shark industry.

Investing in the future of Curaçao

The organization Greenkidz on Curaçao takes a stand for the education of locals and hosts workshops in schools which are combined with excursions into nature. The children do not only learn a lot about their own native land, their nature and indigenous people but also which alternatives can be used instead of plastic and how recycling works. Furthermore, once a year the “Curaçao Clean-up” takes place: 600 students help to remove trash from the island. Adding to that, the children are invited to sign a Greenkidz contract, where they promise to treat nature mindfully. The Morena Eco Resort is more than a sponsor of the organization: it “adopted” a school and participates actively in projects like art workshops, where co-workers create little masterpieces made from alleged garbage together with the children.

Excursion into pristine nature

On the small island of Chumbe right before Zanzibar you can find the private natural reserve of the Chumbe Island Coral Park: it’s a pristine coral island overgrown with a tropical dry forest that provides an exceptional variety of species as well in flora as in fauna. Seven Eco-Bungalows guarantee that the island is never over crowded, while assimilating perfectly into the surrounding nature. Since the beginning, the resort stands up for education and organizes day long trips for schools on Zanzibar. In that way, they care to teach students practical methods that are missing in everyday school life and also create awareness for nature. Of course, this is not only a great experience for the students, the teachers enjoy the project very much as well. Fishermen, community groups and government officials are also welcome to join in on a tour. Moreover, Chumbe Island guests are not only able to learn about nature, they are also welcome to contribute: the easiest way being, leaving snorkeling masks behind or bringing along other utensils that the resort is in need of (You can find the “Pack for a purpose” list here).

Generally speaking, these examples of Green Pearls® partners show how the resorts engage in various projects concerning sustainability and also make this possible for their guests. Even though the carbon emissions of the flight cannot be fully compensated, the balance through climate projects make for a good start, until alternative fuels can be used when flying. Last but not least the local people can also be supported through these projects, which are often dependent on tourism.

The German Green Pearls GmbH with place of business in Darmstadt, Germany unifies international tourism companies that support environmental protection and demonstrate social commitment. Thereby, Green Pearls is the first holding company worldwide that consolidates sustainable hotels, destinations and restaurants in a global data source.

Among the criteria of admission to Green Pearls® Unique Places, are a sustainability plan on management level, sustainable architecture, comprehensive water, energy saving and waste recovery measures, the use of seasonal and regional ingredients in the kitchen, as well as a large commitment for the social balance in each of the vacation regions.

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