When visiting new and exciting places, we should take only memories and leave only footprints – but the last thing we want to leave behind is a hefty carbon footprint. Trafalgar’s commitment to meaningful travel led to establishing the How We Tread Right sustainability strategy, which brings low-impact conservation initiatives to the places we go to make travel matter. For the eco-conscious traveller who wants to join in this eco pledge, we have curated a list of 11 sustainable destinations to visit in 2022.
Tanzania brings visitors close to nature, while providing a financial lifeline to local communities that safeguard the incredible landscape and all its inhabitants.
This unblemished jewel of the African east contains some of the continent’s most breathtaking natural features, from the peaks of mount Kilimanjaro, across the plains of the Serengeti, to the shores of Lake Victoria. The landscape is protected by 21 national parks, 3 marine parks, and many wildlife and forest reserves, all of which provide a habitat for a dazzling cast of wildlife.
Tourism makes up a major segment of the country’s revenue, and sustainability efforts are at the heart of many safari and accommodation providers. The income from tourists contributes to conservation efforts providing on-the-ground support – like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which has been deemed a ‘multiple land use’ zone that unites sustainable priorities between indigenous communities, conservationists, and the Tanzanian government.
Wherever you go in Tanzania, you’ll be welcomed with ‘karibu tena’ (welcome again). Travel with Trafalgar to Tanzania and you’ll unlock a world of possibilities.
Taiping stands out amongst other sustainable destinations in Malaysia as an immaculate location to prescribe time in nature, benefitting mental health and stimulating physical wellness.
Nestled in a microclimate that generates double the region’s annual rainfall, Taiping is known for its sprawling plant kingdom and waterscapes.
Highlights of the landscape include the tranquil Taiping Lake Gardens, the Trong hot springs, and the network of boardwalks through the precious carbon-absorbing mangrove trees. Throughout the natural serenity of the landscape, the Taiping Heritage Trail covers 11.5km and 40 of the city’s historical attractions including Chinese temples and churches, colonial buildings, monuments and architectural diversity.
Taiping is also home to Perak museum, the first museum in Malaysia, and Taiping zoo, which houses more than 1200 animals and doubles as a conservation and research centre (unique within southeast Asia). The former capital of Perak has carefully preserved the remnants of its nations’ history amongst rich green paradise.
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Bardia National Park, Nepal
Fostered by diligent environmental stewards, Bardia National Park is an astonishing feat of reclaimed land. It is the largest national park in Nepal, established in 1988 after its reclamation from British colonists.
Since farming has ceased and its settlers have resettled elsewhere, the reserve has reverted to a diverse biome of wildlife and natural vegetation. It is home to 839 species of flora and 642 species of fauna, including critically endangered species such as the Gangetic dolphin, one-horned rhinoceros and Bengal tiger – the latter of which has seen a marked population growth due to relocation programs.
Travel to meet the Rana Tharu and Dangora people of Southern Nepal and learn about their cultures; take a guided tour into the depths of the rainforest to experience the rewilded landscape up close. The park also offers opportunities for sportfishing at the Karnali and Barbai rivers, a safe and sustainable alternative to game hunting that has ravaged the region.
Embark on a soul-stirring journey to the spiritual centre of Nepal with Trafalgar on the ‘Nepal Adventure’ tour.
Reconnect with wilderness across 1.6 million hectares of World Heritage Listed forest.
Tasmania is rife with green travel destinations; the government preserves 19 national parks, which cover a third of the island territory, made up of mountain ranges, highlands, rainforests, waterfalls, and reclusive beaches. The 65km Overland Track attracts weathered and inexperienced hikers alike (aided by experienced local guides), spanning 5-7 days of the rugged landscape operating under a ‘leave no trace’ policy.
For customarily curious visitors, Tasmania has a compelling coastline, history and culture. Locals grow and graze their own ingredients, eager to share degustation. More than a million people visit Tasmania each year; ecotourism has become more popular as tourism bodies centre their conservation efforts, showcasing the country’s breathtaking natural assets while integrating conscious efforts to preserve these assets for the future.
Embark on the ultimate Tassie getaway when you travel with Trafalgar on the ‘Tassie Getaway’ tour.
The island nation of New Zealand has set global sustainability standards with a progressive policy and pioneering spirit toward eco travel.
Ecotourism is the fastest growing sector of the country’s tourism industry, following a unique approach to sustainability based on the traditional Maori principles of manaakitanga (hospitality) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
Guests are invited by their green hosts to participate in replanting programs, track and walkway building projects, work on organic farms, and more. More than 20% of New Zealand is covered by 13 national parks, forest areas and reserves; over 80% of the trees, ferns and flowering plants are native. This dynamic ecology is at the heart of conservation efforts that drive the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, which aims to play a part in every business in the NZ tour industry by 2025. They work to support communities while restoring, protecting and enhancing the environment, as well as ensuring NZ remains a high-quality destination.
Travel to leading sustainable destinations like New Zealand with Trafalgar, where the unique and the unexpected lurk at every corner.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
One of Latin America’s most immaculate sustainable destinations, Fernando de Noronha celebrates environmental health and ecosystem vitality. Located 215 miles off the coast of Brazil, this island archipelago was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001 due to its important role as a feeding ground for tuna, sharks, turtles and other marine mammals.
The main island is the only one inhabited by humans, and is easily explored by foot. There are five protected trails in the National Marine Reserve Area, which can only be explored with an accredited guide, and three more free access trails inside the Environmental Preservation Area.
Tourism to the island is promoted and regulated carefully to keep the natural features pristine; visitor numbers are limited to just 400 daily, and an environmental tax that contributes to island maintenance is charged to tourists (a weekly fee which increases the longer you stay). Tourist activities include dolphin watching, charter fishing and diving – the temperate waters of Fernando de Noronha are such that scuba diving up to 50ft does not require a wetsuit.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The world-famous provenance of adaptation, the Galapagos Islands became the world’s first UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site in 1978, and have since also been recognised as a biosphere reserve and marine reserve.
Tourism bodies lead the charge in ensuring the survival of irreplaceable ecosystems by educating the public and securing financial support – they align with the interests of the local population and the Ecuadorian government.
Galapagos tour providers must take steps to conserve water and energy, responsibly manage waste, source local produce, and hire local employees at a fair wage with ample training. These measures fall in line with rules set out by the Ecuadorian government. The national park entrance fee and mandatory licensed guide requirement provide essential funds and contribute to the conservation of land and sea, ensuring the protection of one of the world’s most significant eco travel destinations.
Experience the incredible, as you walk among giant tortoises and swim with manta rays when you travel with Trafalgar to sustainable destinations on tours like the ‘Land of the Incas with Galapagos Islands’.
California, United States
Basking across the warm west coast of the United States, California is known domestically for progressive policies and engaged citizens.
California has more national parks than any other state in the US with nine, including the spectacular world-famous Yosemite National Park. Locals across state counties also take pride in preserving the natural landscape and reducing the impacts of urbanisation.
Throughout downtown San Diego, bikes and scooters can be rented for as little as $1 a day, while Huntington Beach residents welcome visitors every Sunday morning for the ‘Help Your Harbour’ beach clean up initiative. San Francisco sets the national standard for waste management, and contains the largest public transport system in the country. 77% of municipal waste is recycled, and more than 60% of the city’s taxis run on biofuel. San Francisco was also the first city in the country to ban plastic shopping bags, and local artists blend countercultural and environmental activity through their use of reclaimed materials in their works.
A visit to Berlin invites world travellers to tap into sustainable practices via a holistic approach to eco-living in one of Europe’s premier sustainable destinations.
Germany embraces a sustainable lifestyle through the integration of forefront green trends, including urban farming, green fashion and organic gastronomy. The majority of hotels are using less plastic, there’s more seasonal and regionally sourced foods in restaurants, and the city regularly monitors greenhouse gas emissions.
Among the cityscape, there are more than 2500 parks in Berlin, including 43 nature reserves blanketing around 2700 hectares. One frontier feature to look out for is the City Tree, which is a type of green street furniture that encourages passers by to take a rest while it provides clean air via natural moss filters. Berliners emphasise a communal approach to zero waste living – regular outdoor markets, packaging-free shops and rescued food are popular ways to engage visitors with local providers.
Traipse the streets of cutting-edge Berlin when you travel with Trafalgar on the ‘Best of Germany’ tour.
Distinguished amongst other sustainable destinations for its magnificent natural beauty, the Azores is host to rich, protected marine ecosystems. 1183 marine species have been identified here, with many deep-sea habitats yet to be fully explored – almost a third of the world’s dolphin and whale species can be found in the Azore’s glistening waters.
Codes of conduct are in place to ensure that whale and dolphin-watching activities cause minimal impact to wildlife, and biologists accompany recreational vessels to educate visitors on animal behaviour and biology. Renewable energy is embraced across the island – the islands have utilised hydroelectric power for over 100 years, and installed wind farms in 1988.
The archipelago promotes a rural tourism movement, offering accommodation in traditional cottages and farms in undeveloped surroundings to immerse visitors in local life and evenly distribute economic benefits. Savour all things hyperlocal while mountain biking, scuba diving, and exploring ancient volcanic landscapes.
Zurich tourism integrates the strengths of the city into tourism efforts to ensure that leisure and business travellers engage with their commitment to sustainability.
The country encourages longer visits for the mutual benefit of tourist relaxation and stimulation to the local economy. Conservation is at the forefront of public consciousness to protect natural resources – for the past 125 years, the Swiss Forest Act has ensured that 30% of Switzerland remains forested and this figure continues to grow.
The Botanical Garden in Zurich contains as many as three million plants and over 15,000 species. To keep emissions low, Switzerland is a public transport paradise; for those craving the freedom of an outdoor lifestyle, even the most remote valleys are accessible by train (over 9000 trains operate every day).
Planning for an iconic 2022 trip? Request the latest Trafalgar brochure and start dreaming
Do you have any clever tips on how to tread right as an eco-conscious traveller? Or are there any sustainable destinations we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below! How will you make a difference on your next trip? Plan your holiday with Trafalgar and make travel matter.