Climate change is an international issue which the Sunvil Group* – as a holiday specialist to 24 countries – understands must be tackled on a global scale as well as a local scale. Here are some suggestions on eco-tourism and how to go green when travelling abroad – not only in Climate Change week, but whenever holidays loom. The Sunvil Group* suggests the following green travel ideas:
Sustainable Tourism in action:
GREECE: The tiny island of Tilos is a world leader in environmental protection and eco-tourism. Years ago the islanders realised that the way forward was in limited, high-quality tourism. Consequently – as an EU-registered Special Protection Area – the 64 km sq island is a paradise for birds and diverse flora and fauna. In addition, to maintain their natural beauty, many of Tilos’ 19 beaches can only be reached on foot or by boat. Stay at the Olympus Studios in Livadia, just a three minute walk from the beach, where seven nights’ self-catering in June cost from £639 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick) and transfers.
THE AZORES: Pull on your walking boots for a holiday in the Azores! Visitors who are keen to see as much of the wild, verdant scenery of Sao Miguel as possible can enjoy four full-day guided walks on the island combined with a stay at the eco-friendly Hotel Marina Atlantico in Ponta Delgada. Over the four days walkers will cover 44km and admire rolling hills, exotic vegetation, pretty churches, wide lakes, volcano craters and waterfalls. Seven nights’ B&B at the Hotel Marina Atlantico cost from £917 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick) and transfers.
Sunvil Holidays offers carbon offsetting for all journeys by air, and carbon offsets all its staff travel.
Travel by train:
Not only are trains more environmentally friendly than planes, but travelling by rail lets passengers see more of the country they are visiting as they whistle through unfamiliar countryside from city to city.
PORTUGAL: There’s no need to decide between Lisbon and Porto when taking full advantage of Portugal’s excellent rail link between these two cities. Travellers can have the best of both: museums, galleries and a vibrant night life in the capital, followed by medieval history and wine tasting in Porto. Four nights’ B&B at the Hotel Lisboa Plaza, followed by three nights B&B at the Hotel Mercure Porto Centro cost from £780 pp (two sharing), including flights (Heathrow) and all transfers.
SWEDEN: For those looking to eschew airports altogether, UK travellers can make full use of Eurostar connections and head to the famously FairtradeCity of Malmö and – in true Agatha Christie style – travel by rail through France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark. Sweden’
Invest in local produce:
Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most. Not only is buying local produce often a window on a different culture, but it also means investment in the local economy, helping to support sustainable tourism.
ITALY: At the Fattoria Lavacchio near Florence, all food and drink is either organically produced on site or purchased from the local area. You cannot, for example, buy Coca Cola here. You can, however, buy fruit juice produced locally in Tuscany as well as the fattoria’s own olive oil and wine made from its extensive olive groves and vineyards. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £800 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick), and car hire.
SICILY: Not only does Il Granaio in Modica produce its own cereals, beef, vegetables and seasonal fruit, but the owner, Giovanni, has taken significant steps over the years to make this agriturismo self-sufficient. Although still technically on-grid, a significant amount of the property is powered by tastefully-positioned solar panels and wind turbines. To date, these green initiatives have been a success – and there’s even enough power to run a sophisticated underground spa. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £653 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
At the heart of all green initiatives is an understanding of our environment and the act of passing on this information through education. It doesn’t always have to be solar panels and EU accreditation;
NAMIBIA: Tourism that gawps is not a good example to children. Tourism with involvement which gives weight to people’s traditional skills is, however, very positive. Sunvil’s sister company, Expert Africa, has been sending families to Bushmanland for nearly 15 years, to spend time with the Bushmen. It’s exciting, enlightening and extremely humbling. A sixteen-night trip including four nights at the Nhoma Camp costs from £2,794 pp (two sharing) including flights (Heathrow), B&B accommodation and various other meals, and activities. Call Expert Africa on 020 8232 9777 (www.expertafrica.com)
For more information on the suggested eco-travel ideas please contact the Sunvil Group* on 020 8758 4758 (www.sunvil.co.uk)
Now to the home-grown ideas for use in Sunvil’s offices during Climate Change week and, hopefully, beyond – the Sunvil team is pledging to:
1. Embrace public transport! All staff willbe encouraged to travel to work by public transport, bicycle or on foot. Anyone who has to travel by car will try to car-share. The aim is to save 824 car miles, which is the distance from the Isleworth headquarters to Malmö in Sweden – Sunvil’s nearest holiday destination. Operations Director, Chris Wright, will even be attempting the 16 ¾ mile cycle from his home in Windsor.
2. Reduce office waste! The number of bins in each office will be reduced to make all staff aware of the amount of waste generated each week, with separate bins for paper, plastic, glass and non-recyclable items.
3. Be energy aware! Every night during Climate Week the Sunvil team will ensure that every light and computer screen is switched off. Energy consumed over the week and will be monitored and compared with normal usage. Staff who shower in the office will need to speed up their regime, as there will be a timer in the shower room to help reduce showering time to two minutes.
4. Eat Local! Delicious British produce will be delivered to the office every morning for staff to enjoy. Staff will be encouraged to bring in an item of food that is British, or a dish that is made entirely from leftover products, for a lunchtime buffet.
5. Support a charity! Raffle tickets provide the chance to win environmentally-
Notes to editors:
*The Sunvil Group includes Sunvil Holidays, GIC The Villa Collection, Sunvil Traveller Real Latin America, Expert Africa, Wild About Africa and Sunvil Discovery.
As a fully-bonded tour operator (ABTA, AITO and ATOL protected), Sunvil offers full financial security.
Ends/12th March, 2012
Press: For more information, please contact Anthony Sebastian at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email a.sebastian@
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