Today, all responsible travelers need to be aware of their impact on the planet. One way of reducing our impact on the environment is to forget world tours, and focus instead on a single destination vacation that offers greater sustenance and sustainability.
Those travelers who have long planned a dream trip to Peru but are concerned about their carbon footprint need not give up on their dream. Of course, international travelers must fly to Peru, but there are many ways to reduce the negative impact of travel, and just as many ways to ensure that a Peru vacation produces a positive impact for local people, the local economy, and the local environment.
One way for travel lovers to reduce their impact on the planet is to travel less. A trip to Peru should be the vacation of a lifetime! So, why not think about visiting Peru once, and staying longer?
Slow travel in Peru, taking the time to really experience and appreciate a country that is bigger than England, France and the UK combined, is also a way of making a greater contribution to the lives of Peruvian people. Independent travelers who stay in small, Peruvian-run hotels, hostels and eco-lodges, travel on local transport, and use the services of local guides with genuine local roots and specialist local knowledge, can rest assured that the money they spend will remain in Peru.
Peru is enormous, but a carefully planned Peru holiday lasting anywhere from 10 days to 2 or 3 weeks, or even longer, will certainly generate more positive than negative impacts in a country where tourism contributes to the economic lifeblood of the population, as well as serving as a major driver of environmental legislation.
Peru has an excellent recent record on conservation. The Peruvian state has created 75 Protected Natural Areas since the country’s first National Park was created in 1961. And what makes the setting aside of unspoiled wilderness areas sustainable in Peru is the notion that local people can be shown through ecotourism that the natural world is more profitable to them if it is left to flourish, rather than being exploited unsustainably in the short term.
Conservation through ecotourism takes on international significance in Peru, because after Brazil it is home to the second largest tract of Amazon forest. In fact, while most travelers associate Peru with the Incas, the Andes and Machu Picchu, a remarkable 60% of the country’s land area lies within the Amazon basin!
At our Tambopata Ecolodge, deep in the tropical forests we help to protect in southeastern Peru, we have been developing and maintaining our ecotourism-based conservation initiative since 1991. We believe that carefully managed sustainable tourism is a truly effective way to stem the tide of destruction which sees vast tracts of tropical forest removed each year, throughout South America.
It can be hard to convince local people that they should be concerned by the impact on tropical forest ecosystems and wildlife. But it can be done, by demonstrating to them that forests are worth more to the entire nation when left standing because people will come to see them, rather than being felled, burned or cleared for short term gain. At Tambopata Ecolodge, that is our mission: welcoming travelers from all over the world, and demonstrating to them and our neighbors the importance of conserving our rainforest home!