Vietnam: Eco and Ethno-tourism for Sustainable adventures


Eco and Ethno tourism: Sustainable adventures for the Traveller on a Budget

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Photo Credit: World Wide Gifts

For most of us, finance is the driving force for the choices we make when we jet off on our next holiday. While the cheap resort package will always prove popular, two recently emergent trends in shopping for bargain holidays are eco-tourism and ethno tourism, and some might argue these new ways to get away from it all make for a more worthwhile travel experience than the most luxuriant of escapes.

With growing concern for the heavy carbon footprint of travel, and the effects of commercial tourism, governments have started to take responsible steps to encourage visitors to less economically robust places, destinations of exceptional environmental beauty or with vulnerable habitats. Diversifying into tourism can often be of long term advantage for many areas of the world, providing sustainable cash flow in the place of more destructive sources of revenue like deforestation and hunting

Not only do these steps benefit the destination, there are also some distinct advantages for the traveller. Eco-tourism is all about preserving natural beauty, enhancing existing assets and showcasing the uniqueness of a place. One renowned example is the rainforest of Costa Rica, the ‘poster child’ of the eco-holiday. Its initial campaign was about the encouragement of nature tourists to visit and explore is vastly biodiverse habitats. Now, it’s one of the most successful and beautiful eco-tourist resorts in the world.

Ethno-tourism differs simply by focussing more on people than environment, and often is aboutimmersion in the everyday life of the destination country. For example in Hoi An, Vietnam, tourists can learn traditional Vietnamese cookery, spend the day growing herbs at the Tra Que herb village, take up yoga, learn the ancient art of silk making, head to the carpentry or pottery village or the local handicraft workshop, or spend a day fishing at the Thanh Nam Fishing Village.

You can also give something back without putting your hand too deep in your pocket. There are ways of off-setting the cost, and carbon footprint of visiting some of the more remote eco-tourist destinations. Opportunities to volunteer your help abound, and meaningful activities range from working on ecological design in Israel and repairing hiking trails in Montana to helping conserve turtles on the beaches of Costa Rica and dolphins in Greece.

Another way to travel more immersively on a budget is by way of the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) initiative.

For a small membership fee, members can travel and work on host farms, reaping free accommodation and food while learning about organic lifestyles and, in some cases, forging lifelong friendships. Destinations are becoming widespread, and opportunities everywhere from Hawaii to Japan can be found on the WWOOFing website.

About the Author: David Waterlow is a blogger, travel writer and a keen supporter of eco-travel ideas. When he’s not writing, he’s most likely to be found in Elgin, Scottish Highlands, where he runs a self-sustainable organic farm.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.5 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”

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