Posts Tagged ‘sustainable travel’

Can Agritourism Save Small-scale Farming?

This article originally appeared on The Travel Word. To view, click here. September, 2012.

agritourism-benefits-harvest-in-Lijiang-China-450x337Agritourism is great fun for travellers. It’s a chance to experience rural life in a new place and get in touch with local people. It’s a way to reconnect with your food sources and return to the roots of production. In some cases, it’s an opportunity to get your hands dirty and pick your own fresh produce.

For those who are still not convinced that a farm tour or farm stay is for them, there’s another side of the story – the supply side. Agritourism brings great benefits to small-scale farmers all over the world. Researchers and policymakers hail this eco-friendly form of tourism as a useful tool for rural development.

Here are three ways that agritourism helps small-scale farmers sustain themselves.

To keep reading, click here. September, 2012.


09 2012

Seven UNESCO World Heritage All-Stars and Alternatives

This article originally appeared on The Travel Word. To see the full post, click here. December, 2011.

UNESCO recognition through its World Heritage List and time in the subsequent travel spotlight can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, a new site gets a big status boost and protection under the UNESCO umbrella. On the other hand, an influx of tourists adds pressures and more need for protection.

The Pyramids of Gebel Barkal, Sudan. Photo courtesy of flickr/shovelingtom

The Pyramids of Gebel Barkal, Sudan. Photo courtesy of flickr/shovelingtom

One way to curb this effect is for travellers to visit alternative heritage destinations where high tourism congestion isn’t causing problems. In that spirit, below is our list of seven UNESCO World Heritage all-stars plus just-as-incredible alternatives. Why not avoid the heavy traffic and step lightly while doing your own thing? That way, the all-stars won’t get loved to death and more places will have a chance to benefit. The photos will be just as cool.

To keep reading this article on The Travel Word, click here.


01 2012

Six Sustainable Travel e-Newsletters Worth Opening

Impressed with a website? One good way to subscribe to new content is to sign up for its e-newsletter.  Dynamic sites send e-newsletters as a unique composite of recent articles and updates, thoughtfully organized and laid out with care.

In the field of sustainable travel and tourism, e-newsletters can keep you informed and up-to-date with the latest news and trends. They’re free and easy to subscribe to, they’re sociable and easy to share, and if you get bored, ‘unsubscribe’ is always just one click away.

Here are a few e-newsletters for those who want to keep their finger on the pulse of sustainable travel and tourism:

TravelMole’s VISION on Sustainable Tourism

TravelMole is an online community and comprehensive news source for the entire tourism industry.  The sustainable tourism section is called VISION, edited by Valere Tjolle.  To subscribe to this weekly newswire, first sign into the site by creating an account and then edit your profile settings to choose to receive the VISION newswire.

The International Ecotourism Society’s Digital Traveler

TIES Digital Traveler newsletter

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is a non-profit headquartered in Portland, Oregon.  One of the world’s oldest and most established ecotourism networks, TIES has been advocating for a more sustainable tourism for over 20 years. To sign up for the monthly newsletter, click here.

The Ethical Traveler newsletter

The Ethical Traveler newsletter

The Ethical Traveler is a non-profit organization on a mission to “empower travelers to change the world.” It first caught my attention with its annual lineup of “The World’s Best Ethical Destinations“, which is compiled based on a blend of factors. Subscribe to their e-newsletters by submitting your email address to the “join our alliance” field in the site’s header.

The VolunTourist Newsletter

VolunTourist newsletter

This newsletter is published by, an online resource for information and research about voluntourism, oriented toward both travelers and industry professionals.  Subscribe to the quarterly newsletter here.

Tourism Review

Tourism review newsletter

Tourism Review is a media and communications resource for the global travel and tourism industry.  Their articles cover industry news, travel news, and more Top 10s than you can count. In addition to the weekly newsletter, they also publish a monthly e-magazine with at least one article on ethical tourism. Subscribe to the Tourism Review weekly newsletter here.

WHL Group’s The Travel Word newsletter

Full disclosure: I recently took on responsibility for the newsletter at The Travel Word. I mention this newsletter in hopes of gaining a few more subscribers, but mostly because it makes the list as a great sustainable travel resource for both industry operators and travelers.  The Travel Word showcases the best of what responsible local partners worldwide have to offer, in their own words.  To subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter, click here.

Good e-newsletters like these ones consistently deliver engaging new content.  They save you a trip to the website itself, and of course, they save trees as a 100% digital news source.

*Tip: Be sure to ‘enable images’ on e-newsletters for the full effect.


01 2011

Albania steps up to the green plate

This article originally appeared in TravelMole Sustainable Travel News.  Find the original article here.  Sept. 2010
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It was picked up by business news.  See the article here. Sept. 2010
It later appeared in the World Travel Market press page.  See the article here.  Nov. 2010

Outdoor Albania partners with World Hotel-LInk to offer online booking services to tourism SMEs.

Tourism in Albania has been rising steadily in the past decade, yet few resources are available to ensure that growth is equitable for all entrepreneurs. Socially-minded businesses are taking the initiative. Writes Cynthia Ord:

Sustainable tour operator Outdoor Albania has been fostering a relationship with World Hotel-Link, an internet platform that provides online booking services to tourism SMEs (small and mid-sized enterprises) through its online listing sites and hotel website development.

OA WHL logo

According to the UNWTO, one of the major trends in the tourism industry is “increased looking and booking online.” International travelers are increasingly using the internet to plan their holidays and book their accommodations.

For all tourism enterprises, this means that a strong presence online is more important than ever. Unfortunately, small-scale and mid-sized accommodations often lack the technological infrastructure needed to position themselves online and reach the global marketplace. They fall behind on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Through its “market place operators” such as Outdoor Albania around the globe, World Hotel-Link aims to bridge this technological gap between locally-owned accommodations and online consumers worldwide. Small business owners now have the opportunity to list their accommodation on a destination website, and they have the additional option of a high-quality hotel website in English with high results in search engines such as Google.

In Albania, World Hotel-Link’s destination websites cover three geographical regions: Shkoder and the North, Saranda and the Coast, and Tirana and the East.

In addition to listing accommodations and offering instant online booking services, these websites also contain a wealth of tourist information. They provide travelers with information about activities, restaurants, events, and transportation. Each site’s traffic has been increasing steadily, with an average of 3,093 total weekly page views during the months of July and August of 2010.

“We are promoting the “real” Albania, and we are looking for small family- run hotels, guesthouses or sustainable hotels which are interested in a listing of their accommodation on one of our websites.” says Laura Payne, co-founder of Outdoor Albania. “Our goal is to bring as much economical gain to small scale accommodations as possible. Together with WHL, we can create a win-win-win situation.”

One success story is family-run Carku Guesthouse, a micro-enterprise in the northern Albanian Alps. Through its listing on the Albanian Alps destination page and its WHL hotel website, the guesthouse secured numerous bookings during the summer 2010 season. Both the listing and the website offer an online booking option. Most importantly, Carku Guesthouse is findable to those who search for it online. When “Carku Guesthouse” is entered in a google search box, the destination site listing and the hotel website appear among the top five results.


11 2010

The rugged Albanian north opens its doors to sustainable tourism

This article first appeared in the World Travel Market press page.  To see it, click here.  October, 2010.
The article was picked up by business news.  To see it, click here.  October, 2010

Like many ex-communist states in Eastern Europe, Albania is a newcomer to international tourism and globalization in general. It is a fledgling economy on the free market stage, but growth is steady. Liberalization milestones since the fall of communism in the early 1990s have been the signing of the Central European Free Trade Agreement in 2006 and the European Free Trade Agreement in 2009. Albania looks toward future EU membership with anticipation. Considering the isolation that characterized this small western Balkan country for much of the 20th century, things are changing fast.

International tourists are noticing Albania, attracted to its unspoiled Mediterranean coastline and the quality-for-price value that it offers. Tourism-oriented growth and development, often rampant and unchecked, is most visible in the capital city of Tirana and along the coast. Some of the more isolated regions of the country, such as the alpine north, are discovering how to harness tourism as a means of much-needed sustainable development for the area.

Rugged Albanian north open to tourism

Tour operators such as Outdoor Albania are offering culture and adventure trips to bridge the gap carefully between tourism development and this geographically remote mountainous area. Its goal is to develop trips and itineraries that will bring economic benefits to local people and conserve the natural environment for future recreation and enjoyment.

Outdoor Albania provides both fixed and tailor-made tours to the Albanian Alps. One of the most popular tours is the 5-day mountain trek and village guesthouse tour. The highlights of the itinerary include transport to the valley of Valbona via local ferry on lake Koman through the Drin canyon, and guided trekking along a mountain pass between the valley of Valbona to the village of Theth accompanied by luggage-bearing mountain horses.

The cultural aspect of the tours is accommodation with local families who offer their homes as guesthouses to travelers. Hospitality has been a pillar of northern Albanian culture for centuries, as the oral tradition of the area mandates the welcoming of strangers into one’s home. By lodging with local families, tourists get a taste of authentic local dishes that the families prepare. They also get a glimpse of the mountain life and agricultural livelihoods that Albanian northerners have been practicing for generations. The tall stone and wood-shingle architecture of the village guesthouses is traditional, characteristic of the northern region, and highly photogenic.

As the northern Alpine region emerges in the guidebooks and on the maps for culture- and adventure-seeking tourists, demand for infrastructure and services such as transportation is increasing in the area. Outdoor Albania recognises the need to meet this demand in a way that will benefit the local people of the area and preserve the environment for future generations. Rather than encouraging hasty construction in the area, OA utilizes the local guesthouse accommodations that are already available and eager for tourists. OA also utilizes local transportation and trekking that respect the natural environment rather than threaten it. In these rural northern villages, the doors are open to the Outdoor Albania brand of tourism.

For more information, visit:


11 2010