It's clear from the extensive New Year travel industry messaging that responsible travel, ecotourism, and agritourism are increasing in popularity every day. There is a convergence of ecotravel and buzzy luxe in places like the designer and local master craftsmanship showplace which is Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland or the Pikaia Lodge, which is located on a large tortoise reserve in the Galapagos Islands, or Bale Mountain Lodge in Central Ethiopia, which has an in-house naturalist to help guests understand the five distinct habitats which make up the park range for rare black-maned lions.
On other fronts, established ecotourism pioneers like Inkaterra are reaching out to new endangered venues such as Cabo Blanco, a fishing village in Northern Peru, where they have opened a new hotel and are helping to revive the area's marine life by working with the locals on sustainable fishing practices. Meanwhile, restaurateur and rising culinary superstar, Alex Atala, author of D.O.M. Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients, has shined a spotlight on sustainable farming efforts among the Amazonian peoples and helped launch the ATÁ Institute to further work with Amerindian leaders to protect the land and heritage of their people. Other distinctive developments in the food realm include the Barlow in Sebastopol in California's wine country. The Barlow, a former apple processing plant, is now a collection of local food producers, wine-makers, and artisans, the aggregate of which equals a unique learning experience.
I am loving the delicious red blend from Pasa Robles' Paperboy Wines. Their motto "eat, drink, and recycle" is apt as their green bottle separates a liner from its recycled paper container for easy and complete recycling. In world-famed Napa and Sonoma, the Boisset family is tapping their vast European experience to introduce advanced biodynamic practices and an entire hands-on biodynamic learning experience at Raymond Vineyards in Napa.
The scope of conscientious travel has expanded and matured. Ethical Traveler's 2013 list of the world's best ethical destinations includes amongst new additions Samoa, Cape Verde, and Ghana, proving that there is a whole planet full of destinations innovating in mindful, sustainable travel. Virtually the whole planet has finally awakened to the fact that human presence is having an unprecedented negative impact on our home world.
Tourism is one of the few areas that shine an independent and personal spotlight on environmental changes and efforts toward sustainability for the record-breaking number of people who traveled internationally in 2013.