Leave a trace – the rise of Nature Positive Travel

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

Nature is in crisis. One in four species worldwide faces the threat of extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, whilst the WWF has found that species abundance has plummeted by 68 percent since 1970. And with biodiversity a fundamental support structure to our own health, wealth and wellbeing for us and the generations that will follow, there’s little time to lose in reversing these trends.

Nature is a key ally in the battle against climate change and biodiversity loss. By recognising the value of nature we can set it on the road to recovery, by building strong, healthy ecosystems and tackling and adapting to climate change. It’s not too late to create positive change if we act now. We can all play our part in transforming our world into one where people, economies and nature not only survive, but thrive.

“Key natural ecosystems are heading towards irreversible tipping points with dangerous consequences for the stability of our planet. This is why we need to set our global compass to halt and reverse nature loss to safeguard human and planetary health” explains Professor Johan Rockstrom, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The good news is that there may be one way to help address the damage humankind is doing to these natural ecosystems that involves visiting them yourself.

What is Nature Positive Travel?

A recent report on a fast growing trend known as Nature Positive Travel by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) highlights how travel and tourism can play a key role in halting and even reversing the degradation of nature.

Given that 80% of travel involves the traveller entering some form of nature, tourism can clearly have a significant impact on popular or fragile destinations. Whilst we have all become more conscious of leaving a lighter footprint on the natural environment, travel continues to have an impact. And where in the past we have been encouraged to leave as little trace as possible on our natural surroundings, this may be beginning to change…

After all, one thing better than leaving no impact is to leave a positive one. This is the concept of Nature Positive Travel; proactively improving an ecosystem or location to leave it in a better state than it was when you arrived, thereby helping to secure a healthy future for the planet.

“Travel and tourism is in a unique position to contribute…by implementing a number of measures such as educating and raising awareness; generating revenue streams that sustain the protection, management, and restoration of ecosystems; and reducing footprint activities, amongst others” notes Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, UN Convention on Biological Diversity Executive Secretary.

So Nature Positive Travel could include participating in local conservation projects, collaborating with and support local communities, and choosing properties that proactively reduce their own environmental footprint and are active in conservation and restoration initiatives where they operate.

Putting the Eco in to Ecoventura  

Sustainability has been at the heart of our approach for many years, ever since we were the first recipient of SmartVoyager, an ecological certification, in 2000 when we voluntarily introduced strict conservation standards that were later incorporated into local regulations.

At Ecoventura we fervently believe in the power of tourism to benefit local communities. We are proud of our record partnering with local organizations such as the Charles Darwin Foundation, and regularly collaborate with local communities on conservation projects, such as those run by ECOS (formerly Ecology Project International).

In fact, on select departures passengers are able to accompany ECOS students on field excursions, helping to analyse samples to further our understanding of tortoise lifestyles and behaviours. Participants explore the local area under tutelage from an expert local guide, learning fascinating facts about its natural history and plethora of flora and fauna.

Our luxury expedition yachts have been designed using cutting-edge stabilizing technology, which has reduced fuel consumption by more than 30% in comparison to the older yachts they replaced. Our ships come with an innovative bow design, enabling faster, smoother voyages, which means sailing time is reduced and we can access some of the Galapagos’ most far-flung islands. What’s more, we are currently looking in to fitting our our zodiac dinghies – used to transport guests to and from the islands – with electric motors, which will further reduce fuel consumption whilst also minimising noise and emissions.

Our fleet of ships features ecological plumbing and advanced water treatment systems to reduce water usage, whilst our bathroom amenities have been designed to be biodegradable – it’s a little known fact that many suncreams and bathroom products can damage corals and other marine life. We also recently joined forces with airline Avianca to open a recycling centre ensuring that no waste reaches landfill in the Galápagos.

As our Ecoventura president Santigo Dunn says, “The Galápagos is one of the few pristine places left on Earth, and it should serve as an example for other destinations and park authorities on how to handle traveler capacities and passenger arrivals to avoid over-tourism so that future generations can continue to learn about and enjoy the world’s natural areas”.

Our week-long voyages (or two weeks back-to-back) encourage longer, immersive experiences and fewer flights. We alternate our itineraries to reduce footfall pressure on the busier islands, and can take guests to the furthest, untouched reaches of the archipelago.

Our guests can book a trip with Ecoventura safe in the knowledge that for decades we have been conscious of the delicate ecosystem within which we operate, and aware of our responsibilities to do all we can to protect it. Not only that, but opting for an Ecoventura voyage will directly help to support local conservation projects on the islands and enable local communities to continue all the fantastic work they do protecting the islands.

So if you are interested in taking part in some Nature Positive Travel to contribute to positive change and safeguard the future of our planet, why not contact us today to organise your trip?