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Prague the greenest city in the world
What makes Prague the greenest city in the world? Nearly 56 percent of Prague consists of forests, nature reserves, parks, agricultural land, orchards and vineyards, golf courses or public gardens, making it the greenest city in the world. Online travel specialist TravelBird analyzed 50 cities on the basis of green areas. The Green Cities Index 2018 shows that the Czech capital is the 'greenest' of all. Forests and nature parks Almost half of Prague consists of 'green'. Especially forests, farmland and nature parks are well represented. According to TravelBird, more than 22 percent of Prague's land consists of agricultural land and 12.6 percent of forests. TravelBird also looked at the number of square meters of green per person. Prague drops to sixth place in this list and Reykjavik spans the throne with 410.84 m2 of green. Prague has a total of 220.54 m2 of green area in the city.   Prague is a beautiful city with a center full of historic buildings and impressive architecture. Visitors can enjoy the rich culture and liveliness. Just enough of the crowds? In Prague there are several parks and public gardens where visitors can escape the hectic pace of the city.    The fact that Prague has many parks is known to most people, but that the city has so much farmland and forests is a surprise to many. The study by TravelBird shows that Prague has the highest percentage of agricultural land (22.28%) and also the most square meters of agricultural land per person (86.61 m²). The city also scores high in terms of public gardens. The Czech capital is in the first place with the most square meters of public gardens per person (22.53m²). The five green places of Prague 1. In the Troja district is the 17 th century Troja castle with beautiful baroque castle gardens around it. The gardens are decorated with sculptures, pergolas, mazes and fountains. Close to these gardens is the Prague Zoo and the city's botanical garden. There is also a vineyard in Troja. Stroll along the vineyards and try the exclusive wine in the luxurious restaurant Vinařství Salabka. But where do you have to go to enjoy 'green' in Prague? CzechTourism Benelux lists five parks and gardens where nature lovers can escape the busy center. 2. Stromovka Park. This park, located in the district of Holašovice, is a favorite place with the inhabitants of Prague. The park was created in the 13 th century as a game reserve. There is a three kilometer trail, along with a dozen other small trails. Cyclists and inline skaters can extend the route by crossing the island (Císařský ostrov) to nearby Troja. It is a great place for slacklinen and you can have a nice picnic. In Stromovka park there is also the planetarium and there are several playgrounds for children. 3. The gardens of Kinsky are the most beautiful gardens in Prague. They lie on the southern and southeastern slope of Petřín and are separated with the other Petřín gardens by the hunger wall, making it often quieter. Families like to have a picnic here. The Kinsky summer palace and the wooden Greek-Catholic church of St. Michael are located in park. Do not forget to walk along the statue of the Gaston seal. The seal escaped from the Prague Zoo because it flooded in 2002. Gaston swam 300 km to Dresden where he was captured. Unfortunately, he died from exhaustion and stress. 4. The Rieger gardens or Riegrovy Sady are located in the center of Prague close to the train station. From here you have one of the best views of the city. This park is more than a century old and is a green oasis with wooded areas, lawns, a garden restaurant and large chestnut trees. In the park you will find several pubs, restaurants and beer gardens . This is the place for a beautiful sunset! 5. Grébovka park in Vinohrady is a bit further from the center, but is a wonderful place to relax and drink a glass of wine . The park is inspired by the Italian Renaissance and has fountains and waterfalls, lakes, pavilions, statues and a cave, as well as a unique view of the city. The charming vineyard pavilion is surrounded by large vineyards and the garden café Grébovka Pavilion. By: Elsemieke de Boer https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel
What makes Prague the greenest city in the world? Nearly 56 percent of Prague consists of forests, nature reserves, parks, agricultural land, orchards and vineyards, golf courses or public gardens, making it the greenest city in the world. Online travel specialist TravelBird analyzed 50 cities on the basis of green areas. The Green Cities Index 2018 shows that the Czech capital is the 'greenest' of all. Forests and nature parks Almost half of Prague consists of 'green'. Especially forests, farmland and nature parks are well represented. According to TravelBird, more than 22 percent of Prague's land consists of agricultural land and 12.6 percent of forests. TravelBird also looked at the number of square meters of green per person. Prague drops to sixth place in this list and Reykjavik spans the throne with 410.84 m2 of green. Prague has a total of 220.54 m2 of green area in the city.   Prague is a beautiful city with a center full of historic buildings and impressive architecture. Visitors can enjoy the rich culture and liveliness. Just enough of the crowds? In Prague there are several parks and public gardens where visitors can escape the hectic pace of the city.    The fact that Prague has many parks is known to most people, but that the city has so much farmland and forests is a surprise to many. The study by TravelBird shows that Prague has the highest percentage of agricultural land (22.28%) and also the most square meters of agricultural land per person (86.61 m²). The city also scores high in terms of public gardens. The Czech capital is in the first place with the most square meters of public gardens per person (22.53m²). The five green places of Prague 1. In the Troja district is the 17 th century Troja castle with beautiful baroque castle gardens around it. The gardens are decorated with sculptures, pergolas, mazes and fountains. Close to these gardens is the Prague Zoo and the city's botanical garden. There is also a vineyard in Troja. Stroll along the vineyards and try the exclusive wine in the luxurious restaurant Vinařství Salabka. But where do you have to go to enjoy 'green' in Prague? CzechTourism Benelux lists five parks and gardens where nature lovers can escape the busy center. 2. Stromovka Park. This park, located in the district of Holašovice, is a favorite place with the inhabitants of Prague. The park was created in the 13 th century as a game reserve. There is a three kilometer trail, along with a dozen other small trails. Cyclists and inline skaters can extend the route by crossing the island (Císařský ostrov) to nearby Troja. It is a great place for slacklinen and you can have a nice picnic. In Stromovka park there is also the planetarium and there are several playgrounds for children. 3. The gardens of Kinsky are the most beautiful gardens in Prague. They lie on the southern and southeastern slope of Petřín and are separated with the other Petřín gardens by the hunger wall, making it often quieter. Families like to have a picnic here. The Kinsky summer palace and the wooden Greek-Catholic church of St. Michael are located in park. Do not forget to walk along the statue of the Gaston seal. The seal escaped from the Prague Zoo because it flooded in 2002. Gaston swam 300 km to Dresden where he was captured. Unfortunately, he died from exhaustion and stress. 4. The Rieger gardens or Riegrovy Sady are located in the center of Prague close to the train station. From here you have one of the best views of the city. This park is more than a century old and is a green oasis with wooded areas, lawns, a garden restaurant and large chestnut trees. In the park you will find several pubs, restaurants and beer gardens . This is the place for a beautiful sunset! 5. Grébovka park in Vinohrady is a bit further from the center, but is a wonderful place to relax and drink a glass of wine . The park is inspired by the Italian Renaissance and has fountains and waterfalls, lakes, pavilions, statues and a cave, as well as a unique view of the city. The charming vineyard pavilion is surrounded by large vineyards and the garden café Grébovka Pavilion. By: Elsemieke de Boer https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel
Prague the greenest city in the world
Prague the greenest city in the world
Travel sustainable! 10 Easy tips to go green on holiday
Sustainable travel. Easy tips to make the world a little better Since my visit to Sumatra I really realize what an impact we as people have on nature and the world around us, especially when traveling. In this section I discuss an aspect of sustainable travel every month and I highlight green and inspiring initiatives in the field of tourism. This time: 10 easy tips to go green on a trip. The first steps to a sustainable travel style A green lifestyle is often seen as difficult and expensive. Organic products cost more money than regular foods, and waste-free life requires a certain dedication. But does that also apply to green travel? Yes, it costs money to compensate your air travel and it is always a search for a hotel run by locals. Yet it does not have to be difficult to adopt a sustainable travel style, and you can even make the world a little better with a small budget. With the summer season approaching, I have put 10 easy tips for a greener travel style at a glance. They cost little money and little effort, but are a good step towards a green travel style and a better world. Pull all plugs out of their sockets at home when leaving Thinking green can be so simple ... Your house is full of electrical appliances that use power and energy during your absence. That is not only bad for the environment, but also for your wallet. Check this just before departure and pull out as many plugs as possible. In any case, of all devices that have a light on or the digital time is displayed, such as your television, alarm clock and the oven. Use a digital boarding pass By making optimal use of modern techniques you can save a lot of paper. For example, use a digital boarding pass or download the app from your airline company. You can also easily manage hotel reservations via your phone, for example with the Wallet for iPhone app. No more hassle with printers and packs of paper, but everything at hand via your smartphone. Check the conditions of your airline. There are of course also comparable apps for Android phones. Eat vegetarian in the airplane Meat is bad for the planet, and ideally we are all vegetarian. I do not see that happening that fast, but decreasing is already a step in the right direction. Choose, for example, to only eat really tasty meat, for example in a good restaurant or from an organic butcher. One of the places where you can certainly leave your meat is on the plane. These meals are not exactly gourmet delights, so a good reason to choose a meatless meal here. Please indicate your preference for a meal during the booking process. An additional advantage: you get your food first. Use as  less plastic as possible Limit the use of plastic. Particularly in the poorer countries plastic often ends up in nature or is burned along the roadside. It is certainly not good for nature at all, so try to contribute as little as possible as a tourist. Below I have put a few useful tips on a list. - Take a shopping bag with you - Use a LifestrawGo or other water bottle - Use your own earplugs on the plane - Take a blanket for yourself on the plane Leave soap, pens and note blocks where they are; in your ‘hotel room’ If you sleep in a luxury hotel, you can collect quite a few goodies. Care products, but also slippers, pens and note blocks: leave it as much as possible in the packaging and in the hotel, because it costs a lot of raw materials to make and transport everything. Have you used anything from the care products? Take the bottles home at the end of your stay, because half-empty bottles are often thrown away. Don’t take every day a clean towel Try to do a little longer with your towel in the hotel, because you can quickly fill a washing machine with the towels from one hotel room. In some hotels the reuse of a towel is happily encouraged and you even get a nice counterpart. For example, at the Qbic Hotel in London, I received a £ 5 voucher every day if my room was not cleaned that day. Another tip for the hotel: go in the shower instead of in the bath. And do not use the laundry at a large hotel, because often every garment is washed separately. It is also often cheaper to hand over your laundry at a local launderette. Photo by: Hans van der Broek , GreenAppeHoiAn, Bicycle Tours Rent a bicycle  instead of a scooter A scooter gives you the ultimate freedom on vacation, because you can drive to remote villages and beaches on your own. But a scooter is also pretty polluting and the noise can deter and drive away wild animals. Therefore, change the scooter for a bike and explore the area on your own. Is your holiday destination hilly and do you have to cover long distances? Then consider an e-bike or an electric scooter. Photo by Etienne Bossot: An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam. 'GreenappleHoian' Take some litter with you Are you going for a walk in a nature reserve? Kayaking? Snorkeling? Take the litter that is in nature and throw it away in the right way. Collect plastic bottles that people have carelessly thrown into the sea or a piece of the beach. You do not have to pick up the whole afternoon, but to pick up some is a small effort. Be critical on the souvenirs you buy Do not buy souvenirs made of tropical hardwood, coral, shells or animals. For example, in Vietnam you can buy bottles of whiskey with a scorpion, snake or other animal in the bottle. So look critically at the souvenirs you want to take home. Return leaflets, maps and brochures back When traveling, you regularly get a map or brochure printed in your hands. Imagine how many boxes of paper every day have to be towed to provide all tourists with information that is also just on the internet. Therefore, say as much as possible no to all the paperwork you receive, or return it at the end of your visit. Even better: download the museum's app or make sure you have the website open on your phone. Setting yourself a sustainable lifestyle is done in small steps and all the bits help. By: expeditieaardbol.nl https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel
Sustainable travel. Easy tips to make the world a little better Since my visit to Sumatra I really realize what an impact we as people have on nature and the world around us, especially when traveling. In this section I discuss an aspect of sustainable travel every month and I highlight green and inspiring initiatives in the field of tourism. This time: 10 easy tips to go green on a trip. The first steps to a sustainable travel style A green lifestyle is often seen as difficult and expensive. Organic products cost more money than regular foods, and waste-free life requires a certain dedication. But does that also apply to green travel? Yes, it costs money to compensate your air travel and it is always a search for a hotel run by locals. Yet it does not have to be difficult to adopt a sustainable travel style, and you can even make the world a little better with a small budget. With the summer season approaching, I have put 10 easy tips for a greener travel style at a glance. They cost little money and little effort, but are a good step towards a green travel style and a better world. Pull all plugs out of their sockets at home when leaving Thinking green can be so simple ... Your house is full of electrical appliances that use power and energy during your absence. That is not only bad for the environment, but also for your wallet. Check this just before departure and pull out as many plugs as possible. In any case, of all devices that have a light on or the digital time is displayed, such as your television, alarm clock and the oven. Use a digital boarding pass By making optimal use of modern techniques you can save a lot of paper. For example, use a digital boarding pass or download the app from your airline company. You can also easily manage hotel reservations via your phone, for example with the Wallet for iPhone app. No more hassle with printers and packs of paper, but everything at hand via your smartphone. Check the conditions of your airline. There are of course also comparable apps for Android phones. Eat vegetarian in the airplane Meat is bad for the planet, and ideally we are all vegetarian. I do not see that happening that fast, but decreasing is already a step in the right direction. Choose, for example, to only eat really tasty meat, for example in a good restaurant or from an organic butcher. One of the places where you can certainly leave your meat is on the plane. These meals are not exactly gourmet delights, so a good reason to choose a meatless meal here. Please indicate your preference for a meal during the booking process. An additional advantage: you get your food first. Use as  less plastic as possible Limit the use of plastic. Particularly in the poorer countries plastic often ends up in nature or is burned along the roadside. It is certainly not good for nature at all, so try to contribute as little as possible as a tourist. Below I have put a few useful tips on a list. - Take a shopping bag with you - Use a LifestrawGo or other water bottle - Use your own earplugs on the plane - Take a blanket for yourself on the plane Leave soap, pens and note blocks where they are; in your ‘hotel room’ If you sleep in a luxury hotel, you can collect quite a few goodies. Care products, but also slippers, pens and note blocks: leave it as much as possible in the packaging and in the hotel, because it costs a lot of raw materials to make and transport everything. Have you used anything from the care products? Take the bottles home at the end of your stay, because half-empty bottles are often thrown away. Don’t take every day a clean towel Try to do a little longer with your towel in the hotel, because you can quickly fill a washing machine with the towels from one hotel room. In some hotels the reuse of a towel is happily encouraged and you even get a nice counterpart. For example, at the Qbic Hotel in London, I received a £ 5 voucher every day if my room was not cleaned that day. Another tip for the hotel: go in the shower instead of in the bath. And do not use the laundry at a large hotel, because often every garment is washed separately. It is also often cheaper to hand over your laundry at a local launderette. Photo by: Hans van der Broek , GreenAppeHoiAn, Bicycle Tours Rent a bicycle  instead of a scooter A scooter gives you the ultimate freedom on vacation, because you can drive to remote villages and beaches on your own. But a scooter is also pretty polluting and the noise can deter and drive away wild animals. Therefore, change the scooter for a bike and explore the area on your own. Is your holiday destination hilly and do you have to cover long distances? Then consider an e-bike or an electric scooter. Photo by Etienne Bossot: An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam. 'GreenappleHoian' Take some litter with you Are you going for a walk in a nature reserve? Kayaking? Snorkeling? Take the litter that is in nature and throw it away in the right way. Collect plastic bottles that people have carelessly thrown into the sea or a piece of the beach. You do not have to pick up the whole afternoon, but to pick up some is a small effort. Be critical on the souvenirs you buy Do not buy souvenirs made of tropical hardwood, coral, shells or animals. For example, in Vietnam you can buy bottles of whiskey with a scorpion, snake or other animal in the bottle. So look critically at the souvenirs you want to take home. Return leaflets, maps and brochures back When traveling, you regularly get a map or brochure printed in your hands. Imagine how many boxes of paper every day have to be towed to provide all tourists with information that is also just on the internet. Therefore, say as much as possible no to all the paperwork you receive, or return it at the end of your visit. Even better: download the museum's app or make sure you have the website open on your phone. Setting yourself a sustainable lifestyle is done in small steps and all the bits help. By: expeditieaardbol.nl https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel
Travel sustainable! 10 Easy tips to go green on holiday
Travel sustainable! 10 Easy tips to go green on holiday
Sustainable tourism is about people nature and climate change
Sustainable tourism is about people and nature Sustainable tourism is about how people and nature are dealt with. Has a holiday park not been placed in a vulnerable area? Are solar panels installed? Do people from the area work in the resort? Sustainable tourism always ensures that the ecological footprint is as small as possible. Nature tourism Nature tourism aims to be in nature or to deal with it well. Think for example of a safari in Africa, mountaineering in the Alps or diving in the Mediterranean. But the term nature tourism does not say anything about how responsible the activities are. Tourism as nature protection Tourism sometimes has adverse effects on nature. But it can also be a way to protect nature. If nature tourism becomes a source of income for the local population, a broader base of support is created to cherish nature. In addition, people can earn their money with nature-friendly activities in tourism. Climate and  tourism The choice of your holiday makes a lot for the climate. A two-week sun holiday to Bali gives an emission of more than 16,000 kg of CO2 for four people. That is as much emissions as heating your home for four years. Reduce emissions on your holiday A special tool provides insight into the CO2 emissions of transport, accommodation and activities during your holiday. With most holidays, the distance to the destination and the choice of transport determine the climate impact. Do you travel within Europe? Then a journey by train or bus is the climate friendliest choice. In distant air travel, a vacation closer to home is always better for the climate. Do you really want to be completely climate neutral? Then opt for a  cycling or walking holiday. That also saves a lot of airport or traffic jam stress. And it is a lot cheaper too. France, Argentiere. Photo by: Hans van der Broek By: Duurzaamnieuws. Photo Cover by: photographer Ron D'Raine in 1995 in an image known as 'The Kiss'. Experss.Co. Uk https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel
Sustainable tourism is about people and nature Sustainable tourism is about how people and nature are dealt with. Has a holiday park not been placed in a vulnerable area? Are solar panels installed? Do people from the area work in the resort? Sustainable tourism always ensures that the ecological footprint is as small as possible. Nature tourism Nature tourism aims to be in nature or to deal with it well. Think for example of a safari in Africa, mountaineering in the Alps or diving in the Mediterranean. But the term nature tourism does not say anything about how responsible the activities are. Tourism as nature protection Tourism sometimes has adverse effects on nature. But it can also be a way to protect nature. If nature tourism becomes a source of income for the local population, a broader base of support is created to cherish nature. In addition, people can earn their money with nature-friendly activities in tourism. Climate and  tourism The choice of your holiday makes a lot for the climate. A two-week sun holiday to Bali gives an emission of more than 16,000 kg of CO2 for four people. That is as much emissions as heating your home for four years. Reduce emissions on your holiday A special tool provides insight into the CO2 emissions of transport, accommodation and activities during your holiday. With most holidays, the distance to the destination and the choice of transport determine the climate impact. Do you travel within Europe? Then a journey by train or bus is the climate friendliest choice. In distant air travel, a vacation closer to home is always better for the climate. Do you really want to be completely climate neutral? Then opt for a  cycling or walking holiday. That also saves a lot of airport or traffic jam stress. And it is a lot cheaper too. France, Argentiere. Photo by: Hans van der Broek By: Duurzaamnieuws. Photo Cover by: photographer Ron D'Raine in 1995 in an image known as 'The Kiss'. Experss.Co. Uk https://www.whatsorb.com/category/travel
Sustainable tourism is about people nature and climate change
Sustainable tourism is about people nature and climate change
Commercialization of Sapa, Vietnam
Is it understanable there are agressive local hawkers? Anyone who has travelled to Sapa will be familiar with the onslaught of women and children dressed in traditional ethnic minority outfits ready to sell their ‘handmade’ souvenirs. Speaking English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian and even Italian in order to sell their souvenirs, anywhere tourists flock, aggressive hawkers are bound to follow… With the influx of tourists coming to Sapa, the territory has become saturated with foreign influences. Head into town, and any real estate boasting the views of the rice terraces has all but been snatched up by foreign hotel, bar and restaurant owners. Villages such as the tourist-heavy settlement of Cat Cat are bordering on becoming glorified theme parks, where local ethnic minorities dress up and act a part, in order to greet the daily rush of tourists and sell souvenirs. The result is that many ethnic minorities are losing their cultural heritage, the very heritage that many travellers to Sapa have come there to see. If the cultural identity goes down! “Cultural identity is being lost and foreign guests are becoming disillusioned,” says co-founder of the Sapa eco-tour group Ethos. “I conducted 366 surveys of people in Sapa Town and Ta Van Village in June. 71 percent of those interviewed were foreigners, of which 90 percent said litter was their biggest negative and 69 percent said they wouldn’t ever return to Sapa.” As you stroll the main strip of Sapa Town from Huong Hoa to Fansipan Street, his words become apparent. The potholed streets are lined with bars, Italian pizzerias and nightclubs offering shisha and ‘funny’ balloons. There are 9000+ hotel rooms currently under construction in Sapa. No property is too sacred. Even the tallest mountain in Vietnam — Fansipan — which lies on the outskirts of Sapa is not safe. In the past, scaling this once formidable mountain was a badge of honour for those willing to brave the two-day hike to the mountain’s summit. Now the peak can be reached via a 20-minute cable car ride (VND600,000) built by the Sun World Entertainment conglomerate. It looks like it gets entertainment world in the mountains  At the top, you are rewarded with an observation deck, a Buddhist temple and a souvenir shop. To make things even easier, there are plans to build a railway, which will ferry tourists from the upcoming Sun World five-star hotel to the cable car station, plus a theme park and a golf course. “Those facilities are aimed almost exclusively at Vietnamese and Chinese clients,” says Phil. “Most foreigners [who come to Sapa] seek culture and nature, but most Vietnamese seek cool air and entertainment.” With tourists often spending only two or three days in Sapa, a quick excursion before heading on elsewhere, it’s because of this fast turnaround that many companies have learned the art of making a quick buck. The development is short-sighted, with little thought to sustainability. Why is illiteracy growing and waste piling up? “Growth is happening too quickly. In a town with no litter disposal, no checks on buildings and no water quality, the impacts on local villages have been huge.” Knowing full well that cuteness sells, the allure of selling souvenirs to tourists has left many families pulling their children out of school to spend the days dressed up in traditional Hmong garb in hopes of enticing customers. This has led to an increase in illiteracy among minority children, and warnings by local authorities against buying souvenirs from children have gone unenforced. With investors pouring billions of dollars into Lao Cai province, it is hoped that some of that money will trickle down to the people who live there. “Tourism has made the town more noisy and dirty,” says Ly Thi My, one of the Hmong tour guides working at Ethos. “The road to Lao Cai used to be natural, but now there are buildings everywhere. I don’t like it because the views are being destroyed and there is more rubbish in the rivers.” Seeing the condition of the roads, which are littered with potholes from the damage caused by the heavy trucks used for the large-scale construction projects, shows that not much of that money, if any, is going into infrastructure. Sapa’s growth does have its pros. The increase in tourism has benefited those working in the travel, food and drink industry exponentially. For some, it is a welcome shot to the local economy. “When I was young, my family didn’t have enough food to eat. We had no shoes or warm clothes. Tourism means I can buy the things I need and my children have a better life than I did,” says Giang Thi So, another one of Ethos’s tour guides. Unfortunately, the hiring of local workers for service work is rare. Phil estimates close to 95 percent of the staff come from other parts of Vietnam. As mega-corporations begin privatizing once-public land, and outside influence starts to have effect on the local ethnic minorities, Sapa is truly at a crossroads. With change coming so rapidly, little regard is given to the impact it will have on Sapa’s stunning landscape and the villagers that occupy it. There’s no stopping the construction from raging, but with all the progress, the future of Sapa and its resilient people remain uncertain.
Is it understanable there are agressive local hawkers? Anyone who has travelled to Sapa will be familiar with the onslaught of women and children dressed in traditional ethnic minority outfits ready to sell their ‘handmade’ souvenirs. Speaking English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian and even Italian in order to sell their souvenirs, anywhere tourists flock, aggressive hawkers are bound to follow… With the influx of tourists coming to Sapa, the territory has become saturated with foreign influences. Head into town, and any real estate boasting the views of the rice terraces has all but been snatched up by foreign hotel, bar and restaurant owners. Villages such as the tourist-heavy settlement of Cat Cat are bordering on becoming glorified theme parks, where local ethnic minorities dress up and act a part, in order to greet the daily rush of tourists and sell souvenirs. The result is that many ethnic minorities are losing their cultural heritage, the very heritage that many travellers to Sapa have come there to see. If the cultural identity goes down! “Cultural identity is being lost and foreign guests are becoming disillusioned,” says co-founder of the Sapa eco-tour group Ethos. “I conducted 366 surveys of people in Sapa Town and Ta Van Village in June. 71 percent of those interviewed were foreigners, of which 90 percent said litter was their biggest negative and 69 percent said they wouldn’t ever return to Sapa.” As you stroll the main strip of Sapa Town from Huong Hoa to Fansipan Street, his words become apparent. The potholed streets are lined with bars, Italian pizzerias and nightclubs offering shisha and ‘funny’ balloons. There are 9000+ hotel rooms currently under construction in Sapa. No property is too sacred. Even the tallest mountain in Vietnam — Fansipan — which lies on the outskirts of Sapa is not safe. In the past, scaling this once formidable mountain was a badge of honour for those willing to brave the two-day hike to the mountain’s summit. Now the peak can be reached via a 20-minute cable car ride (VND600,000) built by the Sun World Entertainment conglomerate. It looks like it gets entertainment world in the mountains  At the top, you are rewarded with an observation deck, a Buddhist temple and a souvenir shop. To make things even easier, there are plans to build a railway, which will ferry tourists from the upcoming Sun World five-star hotel to the cable car station, plus a theme park and a golf course. “Those facilities are aimed almost exclusively at Vietnamese and Chinese clients,” says Phil. “Most foreigners [who come to Sapa] seek culture and nature, but most Vietnamese seek cool air and entertainment.” With tourists often spending only two or three days in Sapa, a quick excursion before heading on elsewhere, it’s because of this fast turnaround that many companies have learned the art of making a quick buck. The development is short-sighted, with little thought to sustainability. Why is illiteracy growing and waste piling up? “Growth is happening too quickly. In a town with no litter disposal, no checks on buildings and no water quality, the impacts on local villages have been huge.” Knowing full well that cuteness sells, the allure of selling souvenirs to tourists has left many families pulling their children out of school to spend the days dressed up in traditional Hmong garb in hopes of enticing customers. This has led to an increase in illiteracy among minority children, and warnings by local authorities against buying souvenirs from children have gone unenforced. With investors pouring billions of dollars into Lao Cai province, it is hoped that some of that money will trickle down to the people who live there. “Tourism has made the town more noisy and dirty,” says Ly Thi My, one of the Hmong tour guides working at Ethos. “The road to Lao Cai used to be natural, but now there are buildings everywhere. I don’t like it because the views are being destroyed and there is more rubbish in the rivers.” Seeing the condition of the roads, which are littered with potholes from the damage caused by the heavy trucks used for the large-scale construction projects, shows that not much of that money, if any, is going into infrastructure. Sapa’s growth does have its pros. The increase in tourism has benefited those working in the travel, food and drink industry exponentially. For some, it is a welcome shot to the local economy. “When I was young, my family didn’t have enough food to eat. We had no shoes or warm clothes. Tourism means I can buy the things I need and my children have a better life than I did,” says Giang Thi So, another one of Ethos’s tour guides. Unfortunately, the hiring of local workers for service work is rare. Phil estimates close to 95 percent of the staff come from other parts of Vietnam. As mega-corporations begin privatizing once-public land, and outside influence starts to have effect on the local ethnic minorities, Sapa is truly at a crossroads. With change coming so rapidly, little regard is given to the impact it will have on Sapa’s stunning landscape and the villagers that occupy it. There’s no stopping the construction from raging, but with all the progress, the future of Sapa and its resilient people remain uncertain.
Commercialization of Sapa, Vietnam
Commercialization of Sapa, Vietnam
Fellow Travellers: We
If travellers use their purchasing power to influence travel suppliers to operate in a sustainable manner, there's no limit to what can be accomplished. Travellers, by their very nature, have an awareness about the world. Most Canadians are conscious of the damaging footprint travel can have on the environment and communities. They're witnessing the potential for destruction as they explore. They've observed attractions such as Angkor Wat, Cambodia's famous temple complex, deteriorate under the crush of vandalism, theft and blatant disregard as scores of tourists descended on the site every year.   They've seen elephants forced to suffer through appalling conditions to lug tourists around on their backs. They've absorbed the reports on Canada's Arctic melting as a result of climate change and they've seen cultural traditions swept aside in exchange for cheap tourism dollars. Whether it's damage to the landscape, litter, pollution, exhaustion of resources or cultural erosion, an inundation of thoughtless tourists can overwhelm and desecrate a destination. Today as we mark World Tourism Day, conscientious travellers must demand more from their travel suppliers.    When I first joined the travel industry at the beginning of the decade, sustainability was not exactly the order of the day. That's not to say travel and sustainability coming together was unheard of — the travel sector first witnessed discussions and debates about the "new promising field" of sustainable tourism in the 1970s — but, in my experience working for a magazine that covered the Canadian travel industry at large on a daily basis, I think it's fair to say the ideas of "sustainability" and "responsible travel" were rarely front-page news just a few years ago. The last decade, as climate change compelled thinking on sustainability forward in general, a constantly growing number of responsible travellers are no longer willing to be part of the problem. Increasing power is being given to travellers to use their purchasing power to shape a more sustainable future for travel. If travellers use their purchasing power to influence travel suppliers to operate in a sustainable manner, there's no limit to what can be accomplished as it to relates a more sustainable future. It's not complicated. Canadians simply need to know what to look for as they make their travel-related purchases. One thing that's valuable to keep in mind is that the best travel companies are great at executing unforgettable trips, but that doesn't mean they have the necessary expertise to deliver practical and impactful sustainability projects. That's why progressive travel companies are increasingly partnering with leading sustainability organizations to help save wildlife and elevate communities in the places they visit. In doing so, they are giving agency to those leaders and organizers who are already knowledgeable and capable of delivering effective sustainable travel solutions and helping to ensure that what starts as good intentions actually has a positive effect on the world. Travel companies are proud to talk about these critical relationships. They recognize that operating responsibly is valuable to their bottom line, and that's a good thing for everyone. By simply doing a little research online before booking your next trip, you can quickly discover which companies are supporting sustainable organizations in their efforts to ensure the negative impacts of the experiences they provide are minimal and managed. It's also important to recognize that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. No travel company is going to flip a switch and become completely sustainable overnight, but those that are leading the charge towards a sustainable travel future are continually adopting new best practices and policies to reflect this ever-improving field. Canadians have to ask about these policies. Let travel companies know that these things matter to you. For example, next time you're preparing to book a trip, inquire as to whether the operator has an animal welfare policy. Agreements or policies established with leading animal welfare organizations ensure that the animal-related experiences travel companies offer meet globally recognized animal welfare criteria.   BARCROFT MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGESTourists click pictures of a Rhino crossing a road during a Jeep Safari in Kaziranga National Park on World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2015 in Assam, India.   You can also ask about their approach to in-destination purchases. Forward-looking travel companies work to help ensure the money you spend while travelling remains in the communities you visit, rather than simply taking as much as they can for themselves. Do their itineraries include stops in local shops and restaurants? The sale of locally made artisan handicrafts and products are vital to local economies. Culture and heritage-based work helps to create jobs, champion economic development, and build connections to the global marketplace. Companies that work to create itineraries that patronize local shops as often as possible put themselves in the best position to empower locals. You, the consumer, have the power. We must now use it effectively, obliging the travel industry to ensure that our beautiful planet can continue to provide us with the unforgettable opportunities to explore, experience, and exchange. It's now up to us all to apply the tenacious dedication and resolve we've demonstrated in exploring our planet to saving it. As travellers, as explorers, we've always demonstrated our deeply rooted capacity to push beyond, to venture into the unknown, and to overcome the impossible. We do all this to satisfy our desire to push beyond preconceived limitations. We overcome oceans, deserts, mountains, political borders, language gaps and cultural differences because we believe in the beauty of our planet and we have a need to seek out and appreciate everything it has in store for us. It's now up to us all to apply the tenacious dedication and resolve we've demonstrated in exploring our planet to saving it. For everything it's given us, we absolutely owe it that much. Zach Vanasse for HuffPost
If travellers use their purchasing power to influence travel suppliers to operate in a sustainable manner, there's no limit to what can be accomplished. Travellers, by their very nature, have an awareness about the world. Most Canadians are conscious of the damaging footprint travel can have on the environment and communities. They're witnessing the potential for destruction as they explore. They've observed attractions such as Angkor Wat, Cambodia's famous temple complex, deteriorate under the crush of vandalism, theft and blatant disregard as scores of tourists descended on the site every year.   They've seen elephants forced to suffer through appalling conditions to lug tourists around on their backs. They've absorbed the reports on Canada's Arctic melting as a result of climate change and they've seen cultural traditions swept aside in exchange for cheap tourism dollars. Whether it's damage to the landscape, litter, pollution, exhaustion of resources or cultural erosion, an inundation of thoughtless tourists can overwhelm and desecrate a destination. Today as we mark World Tourism Day, conscientious travellers must demand more from their travel suppliers.    When I first joined the travel industry at the beginning of the decade, sustainability was not exactly the order of the day. That's not to say travel and sustainability coming together was unheard of — the travel sector first witnessed discussions and debates about the "new promising field" of sustainable tourism in the 1970s — but, in my experience working for a magazine that covered the Canadian travel industry at large on a daily basis, I think it's fair to say the ideas of "sustainability" and "responsible travel" were rarely front-page news just a few years ago. The last decade, as climate change compelled thinking on sustainability forward in general, a constantly growing number of responsible travellers are no longer willing to be part of the problem. Increasing power is being given to travellers to use their purchasing power to shape a more sustainable future for travel. If travellers use their purchasing power to influence travel suppliers to operate in a sustainable manner, there's no limit to what can be accomplished as it to relates a more sustainable future. It's not complicated. Canadians simply need to know what to look for as they make their travel-related purchases. One thing that's valuable to keep in mind is that the best travel companies are great at executing unforgettable trips, but that doesn't mean they have the necessary expertise to deliver practical and impactful sustainability projects. That's why progressive travel companies are increasingly partnering with leading sustainability organizations to help save wildlife and elevate communities in the places they visit. In doing so, they are giving agency to those leaders and organizers who are already knowledgeable and capable of delivering effective sustainable travel solutions and helping to ensure that what starts as good intentions actually has a positive effect on the world. Travel companies are proud to talk about these critical relationships. They recognize that operating responsibly is valuable to their bottom line, and that's a good thing for everyone. By simply doing a little research online before booking your next trip, you can quickly discover which companies are supporting sustainable organizations in their efforts to ensure the negative impacts of the experiences they provide are minimal and managed. It's also important to recognize that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. No travel company is going to flip a switch and become completely sustainable overnight, but those that are leading the charge towards a sustainable travel future are continually adopting new best practices and policies to reflect this ever-improving field. Canadians have to ask about these policies. Let travel companies know that these things matter to you. For example, next time you're preparing to book a trip, inquire as to whether the operator has an animal welfare policy. Agreements or policies established with leading animal welfare organizations ensure that the animal-related experiences travel companies offer meet globally recognized animal welfare criteria.   BARCROFT MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGESTourists click pictures of a Rhino crossing a road during a Jeep Safari in Kaziranga National Park on World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2015 in Assam, India.   You can also ask about their approach to in-destination purchases. Forward-looking travel companies work to help ensure the money you spend while travelling remains in the communities you visit, rather than simply taking as much as they can for themselves. Do their itineraries include stops in local shops and restaurants? The sale of locally made artisan handicrafts and products are vital to local economies. Culture and heritage-based work helps to create jobs, champion economic development, and build connections to the global marketplace. Companies that work to create itineraries that patronize local shops as often as possible put themselves in the best position to empower locals. You, the consumer, have the power. We must now use it effectively, obliging the travel industry to ensure that our beautiful planet can continue to provide us with the unforgettable opportunities to explore, experience, and exchange. It's now up to us all to apply the tenacious dedication and resolve we've demonstrated in exploring our planet to saving it. As travellers, as explorers, we've always demonstrated our deeply rooted capacity to push beyond, to venture into the unknown, and to overcome the impossible. We do all this to satisfy our desire to push beyond preconceived limitations. We overcome oceans, deserts, mountains, political borders, language gaps and cultural differences because we believe in the beauty of our planet and we have a need to seek out and appreciate everything it has in store for us. It's now up to us all to apply the tenacious dedication and resolve we've demonstrated in exploring our planet to saving it. For everything it's given us, we absolutely owe it that much. Zach Vanasse for HuffPost
Fellow Travellers: We
Fellow Travellers: We've Seen The World. Now Let's Save It
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