Greenloons Offers Responsible Vacation Options for the Family

Greenloons, an ecotourism provider, has launched a website offering responsible vacation itineraries for the whole family. Greenloons is a Washington D.C. based company dedicated to promoting transparency in the eco tourism industry, family fun, nature, culture and, of course, travel around the world.

Greenloons was founded by eco-Mommy Irene Lane. Lane has an MBA in International Finance, as well as a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Management. She became aware that the ecotourism industry was wrought with misinformation, and as a lover of nature, travel and culture, she decide to start Greenloons in May 2010. Lane says, "Families can rest assured that an ecotour listed on Greenloons has been certified as one that supports local communities, emphasizes environmental education, sustains conservation efforts, minimizes tourist waste, and respects local cultural traditions."

Ecotour operators offering responsible vacation options on Greenloons adhere to legitimate third-party standards, such as Botswana's Ecotourism Certification System or Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP). Greenloons suggest that a number of companies make up awards and then award themselves. Meanwhile, Greenloons doesn't leave readers in the dark about the legitimacy of their certifications; the site offers a wealth of information about what each responsible vacation award means.

The Community section of Greenloons offers responsible vacation stories, tips for traveling, ecotourism in action, photos, and, of course, a blog. The first post of the blog, written in July, points out that the term "ecotourism" doesn't yield global understanding. In North America, ecotourism is akin to adventure travel, whereas in Europe, it means "lower carbon footprint". In Africa and South America, ecotourism means protecting wildlife through tourism.  Greenloons lays forth several principles to help define it, such as: ecotourism (1) Supports the conservation of natural areas and wildlife (2) Minimizes air and water pollution as well as tourist waste (3) Respects the cultural tradition of the host.

Yesterday's press release announcing the new Greenloons website suggested that ecotourism is growing around 5% annually, worldwide. It added: the responsible vacation trend is real, but a number of travel suppliers have tried to reap the benefits by stamping "eco" on all kinds of products and packages. Greenloons hopes to alleviate their confusion by offering ecotours with transparency. With the help of  legitimate certifications, consumers can "make truly environmentally and socially responsible vacation travel choices."

Photo: Tobias Alt