What is Green & Sustainable Tourism?

Green and Sustainable Tourism tries to minimize and reverse the adverse impacts of the tourism industry. Basically, it is a form of responsible travelling that protects the environment, supports locals. Green tourism is often described as a more environmentally-friendly type of tourism, relies on natural resources and is derived from local culture. Green tourism is one of the best ways to improve the connection between the natural and social environment.

The inevitable steps in tackling the climate crisis is using clean and renewable energy resources, ensuring energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, using water efficiently, and extending tourism practices that avoid wastes. Tourism is also an important tool in local economic development. This is where green and sustainable tourism concept comes into play. The concept essentially should not only be considered as a type of tourism, but the principles that should be adopted while carrying out activities for the development of different tourism types.

It is defined as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities (UNEP – UNWTO). While green and sustainable tourism reduces adverse impacts including the pressure of overcrowding, damage to the nature, and economic losses on a destination, sustainable tourism also has the purpose of increasing positive contributions such as the protection of cultural and natural values and increase recruitment opportunities.

The purpose of Green & Sustainable Tourism is to:

• Conserve natural and cultural heritage,

• Carry out resource-efficient practices including energy efficiency,

• Minimize impacts on nature and biodiversity,

• Preserve physical integrity between the rural and urban areas,

• Increase the recruitment opportunities for the locals and empower local people,

• Contribute to gender mainstreaming,

• Increase satisfaction of tourists visiting the destination.

We, Enerjisa Enerji, Sabancı University and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), set out to make Küçükköy, Ayvalık a green destination model where sustainable tourism principles are considered; thus, we launched the SENTRUM project.

What is Green Destination?

In brief, a green destination can be defined as a concept that takes into account the principles of sustainable tourism and increases the quality, attractiveness and competitiveness of a destination. A green destination is an environmentally-friendly option that minimizes the adverse impacts of traditional tourism on natural heritage, preserves the cultural integrity of the locals and offers new opportunities.

As a result, green destinations support the local culture and traditions, protect the region from excessive human pressure and mass tourism, increase local employment, conserve natural heritage and wildlife, are environmentally- and climate-friendly, and target responsible tourists that have a respect for the concept.

We dreamed a destination where cultural and natural heritage are protected, energy efficiency is ensured, renewable energy practices are available, waste is separated, the tourism practices expanded over four seasons, technology and art is integrated, and the welfare of the local people is enhanced; hence, we launched the SENTRUM project in Küçükköy. SENTRUM in Küçükköy is our first green destination model enlightened by the Sustainable Development Goals.

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