SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: IN SEARCH OF BALANCE.

Author:Luongo, Michael
Position:TOURISM
 
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At a time when tourism is expanding throughout the planet and complaints are arising from the most traditional European cities, such as Venice, another type of tourism that is more conscious and responsible is beginning to take shape.

It is sustainable tourism, or in its broader version encouraged by the United Nations, "sustainable tourism for development."

This type of activity offers the commitment to a better use of resources, less waste and a smaller environmental impact on the part of the service providers, who, at the same time, seek to use local labor in their projects. And for the travelers, it implies a more responsible conception as they pass through different places, with less environmental impact and respect for the culture they are visiting.

So, what for a long time was thought difficult to achieve, like uniting "sustainability" and I "business," today appears not only feasible but with excellent prospects of growth.

Two entrepreneurs share their views with Latin Trade.

CALANOA JUNGLE LODGE

Calanoa Jungle Lodge is in the Colombian Amazon and was constructed using natural materials in tune with the surrounding jungle. The project was started by husband and wife team Diego and Marlene Samper.

Marlene explained Latin Trade that she and her husband started the project in 2011, but their roots in the region go back much earlier to the 1980s when Diego explored the area for photographic purposes and became interested in helping protect it. The lodge is small, holding a maximum of about 20 people, located in the heart of the Amazon, about an hour and a half, by boat, from the city of Leticia in the very southern tip of Colombia. Samper said that over time, "little by little we are growing, but we don't like to grow very much," in order to help protect what she said is an area covered by 80% primary forest.

According to Samper, while profit was not the main motive, economic and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. Architecture is designed to aid natural cooling, reducing the need for electricity. Solar energy is also used. These and other methods help with overall economic sustainability. "You save money when you protect the environment," Samper said. "If you use local materials, you don't have to transport things from the cities."

Using local materials also means engaging with those who are native to the region, those who supply fish and other foodstuffs. Samper added that she and her husband educate clients on...

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