Croatia lies on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, just opposite Italy and close to Greece, but you might not have heard all that much about it in the past. Recent years have seen Croatia’s popularity skyrocket thanks to social media, increased connectivity within Europe, and not to mention the hugely popular Game of Thrones TV series which is filmed in various locations around this versatile country.
Croatia truly has it all; beautiful mainland with magnificent valleys, mountains and their towering peaks, and a coastline to die for, studded with hundreds of islands. Tourism has been a major economic driver for Croatia for years but it’s even more so in the recent past. With such an overwhelming influx of visitors year after year it is important to find a development model that will allow Croatia to grow economically thanks to tourism, but that will also take into account the sustainability of such an endeavour.
So What Exactly is Sustainable Tourism?
It is quite common for people to assume that the term ‘sustainable’ is a reference to eco-friendliness. Going green is a big part of sustainable tourism but it’s not the only element of sustainable tourism. Actually, sustainable tourism rests on three pillars:
Over-construction on the coast, excessive pollution, destruction of natural resources and animal habitats, loss of cultural integrity are all things happening right now in Croatia. Luckily, local businesses and communities are standing up to it more and more, insisting on a proper plan of development that will benefit both sides of the equation. Unsustainable tourism is OK for the tourists – as long as Croatia is attractive and has unpolluted and undisturbed parts they will continue to flock there. Once an area becomes over-exposed, over-used, and unappealing, the tourists will simply move to a different place in the country, leaving destruction in their wake.
Of course, locals are not blaming tourists and they know that it is up to them to make things better for everyone involved. That is why right now, we are seeing a rise in ecological actions along the shore, protests against ‘apartmanisation’ – construction of blocks of hotels on the coastline, and more.
Today, Croatia and its people are manoeuvring towards a development system that is going to be sustainable and beneficial to all the parties involved. You as tourist can also lend a helping hand to this growing effort. When booking your trip, consider the following:
✓ Is the place you’re staying at privately owned by locals or foreigners?
✓ Are you choosing to support local economy by buying locally-produced and manufactured souvenirs?
✓ Are the activities you’re participating damaging to the environment?
✓ Is there an effort on the part of your tour provider to include socially beneficial and ecologically friendly activities into the mix?
Your Choices Will Make A Difference
This is why Sail Croatia has a brand dedicated to promoting socially-responsible travel that helps local communities achieve sustainable development. The Green Sail Adventure is both eco-friendly and hires local skippers and tour guides that are knowledgeable about the area and the work that you’re doing on your tour. Imagine a holiday where you’re not just sitting around with thousands of other tourists but, one which you are actively participating in the life of the community.
Green Sail is all about that. You will board your yacht and hop from island to island experiencing local life and enjoying local wines and dishes – but you will also get your hands dirty! First off, you will be cleaning up local beaches and assisting the locals with their efforts to keep their surroundings clean for everyone to enjoy. Popular tourist destinations are often left littered and packed with trash after the season ends.
Sail Croatia’s Green Sail Cruise is the perfect example of a brand dedicated to give back to community, but it’s not all motivated by selflessness. This is a brand that understands that this will result in higher returns in the future.
By focusing on sustainable tourism we are making sure that there is tourism in the future; that natural resources get a chance to replenish, that locals get compensated for their work and that communities that make a destination popular continue to thrive and prosper.
If you are also looking to give back to communities that you visit, make sure that you support their efforts to stay afloat and award your business to companies that are doing the same thing. An active holiday where you get to learn new things and become a part of the local surroundings will most certainly be unforgettable!