Looking for a more eco holiday? With the World Responsible Tourism Awards in their 11th year, leading ethical agent responsibletravel.com rounds up 10 award-winning destinations which will not only give you the holiday of a lifetime, but where your travels will also make a real, positive difference to local people and conservation efforts.
1. Bonito, Brazil
This wonderland of caves, crystal clear water, mountains and forests is little known outside Brazil, but has an enterprising and innovative approach to sustainable tourism which won it the Best Destination in the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. So while you are snorkelling through its kaleidoscopic caverns, and marvelling at its wildlife, you’ll also be helping protect them for generations to come. http://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/brazil (Photo credit: Prefeitura Municipal de Turismo, Bonito).
2. New Zealand
Overall winner of the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2008 for its nationwide efforts to use tourism to make better places to live and visit, New Zealand is an adrenalin-fuelled outdoor playground. Mountains, trimmed by glaciers roll into staggering coastlines and lush forests offer walking and hiking trails galore. Try this 3 week taste of active adventuring including hiking, glacier walking and jet boating from £5,999 per person including flights. http://www.responsibletravel.com/holiday/10908/new-zealand-adventure-holiday (Photo credit: Chris McLennan)
3. Roros, Norway
Take a step back in time in this unique former mining town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been using tourism to preserve local heritage for over 85 years. Come here for culture and wilderness, cycling, hiking and canoeing in summer, and snowshoeing, husky-sledding and to see traditional reindeer herders in winter. (Photo credit: Lars Geithe)
4. The North York Moors, UK
Conjuring up images of wild, remote landscapes and atmospheric adaptations of Bronte novels, Winner of the best Protected Area in 2004, the North York Moors are a spectacular mixture of coastline, open moorland and quaint, Georgian spa towns. Take the waters in Harrogate, or take to two wheels to explore the open, heather-filled expanses. (Photo credit: North York Moors National Park Authority – Mike Nicholas)
5. Cape Town, South Africa
Vibrant and diverse, South Africa’s culture is often an afterthought to its animals. Cape Town offers a unique, complex combination of history and modernity, culture and scenery as well as innovative, informative township tourism projects. Find a holiday which immerses you in this cultural melting pot at http://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/south-africa. (Photo credit: Cape Town Tourism).
6. The New Forest National Park, UK
Tucked away on the South Coast of the UK, this family friendly area of 900 year old woodland, walking trails, quaint villages and ubiquitous New Forest ponies won the award for Best Destination in the 2007 World Responsible Tourism Awards. Excellent bus connections and gentle cycling routes makes it easy to go car-free. http://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/new-forest (Photo credit: Barry Whitcher).
A world away from the all inclusive resorts, feel the rhythm of the real Caribbean in Tobago. And nowhere else in the Caribbean offers such a diversity of wildlife and habitats in such a compact area. Try this 16 day nature tour for forest forays, snorkelling, turtles and birdlife, from £2,095 including flights. http://www.responsibletravel.com/holiday/6833/trinidad-and-tobago-nature-tours (Photo credit: Trinidad & Tobago Tourist)
8. St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, UK
Isolated St Kilda, in the remotest part of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides may not be the top of everyone’s travel bucket list, but these tiny islands are the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognised for both its natural and unique cultural significance. This 7 day wildlife cruise costs £1390 per person and will get you up close and personal with the islands’ sea-birds and marine life. http://www.responsibletravel.com/holiday/15754/st-kilda-wildlife-cruise-in-scotland (Photo credit: the National Trust for Scotland).
9. Aspen, Colorado, USA
Leading the field in environmentally-friendly skiing, this mountain resort has a whole host of green accolades to its name. Be stunned by its towering mountains and summer hiking trails, and in winter know that the snow here is about as green as it gets. (Photo credit: Brett Friel).
10. The Lake District National Park, UK
Jaw dropping scenery, crystal lakes and enough outdoor activities to keep adventurers of all ages happy, the Lake District National Park offers a real retreat into nature. And with so many of its tourism businesses partnering with conservation organisations, a stay here really does contribute to keeping the Lakes as beautiful as they are now, for years to come. (Photo credit: Copyright: Nick Thorne).