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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Ecotourism: tomorrow's star destinations

AFP   March 25, 2014
First Published: 15:37 IST(25/3/2014) | Last Updated: 15:40 IST(25/3/2014)

When it comes to environmentally friendly tourism, certain locales come to mind immediately. Vietnam, Kenya, Cameroon... the classics. But as the ecotourism movement gains momentum, additional destinations are joining the roster. Here is a roundup of a few of the rising stars of the ecotourism scene.

Dubai
Notwithstanding its reputation for opulence and excess, the emirate was recommended by National Geographic as an emerging ecotourism destination. Visitors interested in sustainable tourism can head to Dubai's nature reserve or take a day trip into the desert with indigenous guides.

Kerala, India
A growing number of ecotourists are heading to this state in southwest India to take in its dozens of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves and other protected areas. "God's own country" is the slogan of this region, which is investing in responsible tourism as a sustainable and responsible form of economic development.

Bhutan
In this South Asian nation, respect for local customs and for nature has been established by the government as a matter of national importance. The majority of ecotourism opportunities in Bhutan fall within the luxury travel category and are targeted at high-end clients. And for good reason: each visitor must pay a daily tax of $250, which goes directly towards the preservation of the landlocked country, which is located between India and China, to the east of the Himalayas.

Myanmar
Little by little, the country is opening up to international tourism, offering exceptional opportunities for environmentally conscious tourists looking to interact with local populations. On a hike departing from Kengtung, within the famed Golden Triangle, tourists can come into contact with villagers from the Palaung, Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Khun tribes.


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