STORIES OF THE PEOPLE, PLACES & PARTNERS THAT MAKE TRAVEL AND TOURISM TICK

Earth Day: The Lanzarote Effect

Imagine an island where scarce water brings ancient vineyards to life. Where art, culture and the landscape is celebrated in every household, in every town center. This place is Lanzarote, an island with a story to tell. If you thought Lanzarote was just sun, sand and sea, think again. Conservation and cultural heritage are embedded in the history of Lanzarote and its people. Through a strong commitment and adherence to sustainable tourism development, this island offers unspoiled views and a visitor experience that leaves a mark on your soul long after you depart. In honor of Earth Day, we are celebrating the island of Lanzarote, one of seven Canary Islands off of the coast of Morocco.
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International Women’s Day – Women in Tourism

Women around the world play a significant role in the travel and tourism industry. Tourism offers respectable, stable opportunities to underserved populations who may not have benefited from formalized educations –– many of whom are women. Today is International Women’s Day and we are celebrating by highlighting some of the women we respect the most when it comes to changing how travel affects our world. We are honoring women who are building better futures for themselves and their communities through this large, diverse industry.
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The MEET Network: New Opportunities for Travelers and Communities in the Mediterranean Region (SLIDESHOW)

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    From the sun-drenched beaches of the Côte d’Azur to the crystal-clear waters of the Greek Islands to the rocky trails of Italy’s Cinque Terre, the Mediterranean region draws 220 million tourists each year.
    (Photo © Evangelia-Marina: Stunning views from a hike through Karpathos, Greece)
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    This regular influx of visitors contributes to the destruction of landscapes, soil erosion, water pollution, the loss of wildlife habitat and cultural homogenization.
    (Photo © Ramon Fortia. A honeyeater in Aiguamolis, Spain)
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    Drawn by the economic benefits of mass tourism, local communities often do not prioritize conservation or the protection of their cultural and historical attributes. Visitors are then subject to inauthentic and tarnished experiences.
    (Photo © Marianne Lang. Kayak trip in Portcros, France)
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    The Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) is turning things around across the region. MEET is a growing network of tourism experts, tour operators, NGOs and government agencies committed to raising awareness and financial support for protected areas and their surrounding communities through ecotourism.
    (Photo © Montgrí, les Illes Medes i el Baix Ter)
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    Sustainable Travel International has been working with the network to promote MEET Experiences, a series of itineraries that connect travelers with local people and off-the-beaten trail activities. We have also helped MEET to develop a business model that provides an economic incentive for local communities to actively support the conservation of their natural and cultural resources.
    (Photo © Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve: Learning about plant species in Jabal Moussa, Lebanon
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    In France’s Cevennes National Park, visitors learn about edible plants, like Ceps and Chanterelle mushrooms, on hikes led by local guides passionate about the landscape and community traditions.
    (Photo © Cevennes Evasion: Hiking through Cevennes, France)
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    In Torre Canne, Italy, this local farmer shows off his vine-ripened tomatoes. The day ends with a trail-to-table dinner hosted by the farmer, who will instill in visitors an appreciation for the local bounty, and maybe even reveal a family recipe or two!
    (Photo © Parco Regionale Delle Dune Costiere: Slow food movement in the Torre Canne Region, Italy)
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An Industry Call to Action at Travel & Tourism Summit

“Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industries and a high-stakes piece of the global sustainability puzzle,” said Sam Adams, Portland’s former Mayor and current director of the US Climate Change Initiative at the World Resources Institute. “It can be an important part of the solution, provided the industry comes together and works toward common goals.”
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