Sustainable development is a global trend and conservation and ‘going green’ is taking centre stage. Right now the focus is on islands around the world that are promoting sustainable tourism as well as taking on various conservation initiatives to sustain their diverse ecological and microclimate systems. Take heed and follow the trend when visiting any of these little slices of paradise.
Indian Ocean Islands are extremely popular destinations for South African travellers, and these islands are very keen to support green initiatives. Zanzibar, for instance, has requested that visitors refrain from bringing any plastic bags onto the island. Reunion Island also practises sustainability and urges all tourists to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible. Mauritius, which is one of the most popular islands in the region, fosters a clean, green island with various initiatives to preserve and protect, innovate and grow.
As of November 2018, the magnificent Maldives islands’ government has introduced a ‘green tax’ to introduce sustainability and environmental initiatives on these island gems.
The Middle East takes going green very seriously. Forward-thinking UAE city Dubai not only promotes environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism; it has ensured that its ‘artificial’ islands are eco-friendly too. In fact, some of the most modern innovations are taking place in this part of the world, with completely green floating islands making the news, as well as islands being built in the sea to create hundreds of kilometres of new waterfront for this high tech metropolis.
The Asian island of Singapore is one of the cleanest, greenest places to live in the world. The country emphasises reducing, reusing and recycling as part of residents’ lifestyles. Thailand has also followed suit, urging visitors and locals alike to reduce plastic waste. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working together with the island of Koh Samui to eliminate the use of single-use plastics and encourages visitors and residents alike to reduce waste, reuse and recycle to help protect the island’s ecosystem.
The EU’s green initiatives involve launching a new project to help Mediterranean islands transition to green energy. Called Promoting Renewable Energy Sources Integration for Smart Mediterranean Islands (PRISMI), the project aims to assist local authorities to create renewable energy on their island. This project, which will be undertaken for a period of 18 months, aims to create low carbon and climate change-resilient islands that are energy independent.
For more information on any of the world’s islands, and what to be aware of when visiting them, contact www.thompsons.co.za