Business and tourism should never be the problem for the planet sustainability, as long as they are run in a responsible way, they become part of the solution. Like this example, many of the Fairbnb.coop hosts run sustainable travel accommodations.
A. The problem: overtourism
The extremely popular destinations of South East Asia Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, are visited by thousands of tourists every single day. Visitors per day figures are similar to the ones in Venice, however this is not located in an urban area but in a wonderful bay extremely rich in terms of biodiversity. All kind of cruises go through this natural treasure everyday, some of them plenty of parties, alcohol and loud disco music, contributing to the landscape beauty by leaving in its waters their beer cans, plastic bags and others.
Local population has traditionally lived in small floating houses and fishing has always been their way of life, but pressure of mass tourism and cruises companies, that see them just as an obstacle for their cruises routes, has increased dramatically last decade, forcing many fisherman families to leave their places.
B. The solution: sustainable travel
Charles and Duc are two vietnamese young guys, one day they thought this was not fair at all and tried to be the change they wanted to see in their place. They invested their savings in buying the floating house that a local fisherman was going to leave. They rebuild it, installed some solar panels, set up a fish farm below the floating house and started to run a basic but 100% sustainable floating guesthouse. Food waste is processed and used for feeding the fish farm, they do not use any chemical product for cleaning and they encourage guests to know the astonishing beauty of the bay by a slower but healthier and cleaner transport: kayaking.
Despite serious difficulties they have gone through, by following sustainable principles, Charles and Duc have managed to generate a real impact in their social, economical and natural environment:
They managed to convince local municipality to arrange a boat that once a day collects non biodegradable waste from all the floating houses in the area, so now, other floating houses do not pollute the bay’s water anymore.
They are able to offer guests a genuine, inspiring and sustainable travel experience that makes us stop for a moment and think about topics like circular economy, CO2 footprint or sustainability.
It takes you half a day to get there from the mainland. It is true you do not have hot water, nor internet, nor other facilities and just one choice for dinner, but who wants a flat screen TV when you are staying in the middle of a natural wonder like Lan Ha Bay?
Whenever you travel next time (let’s not forget that according to the World Tourism Organization travel is any activity that takes you away from your usual environment) you can try to stop for a moment, think and look for any of these honest, beautiful and sustainable travel accommodations all over the world.
Ecohost Founder – Fairbnb.coop local ambassador in Granada