PHOTO: © CLAIRE SLINGERLAND | DREAMSTIME.
Awareness about fair and sustainable travel continues to grow around the globe, with travelers everywhere considering a destination’s eco-friendly options before visiting. As public consciousness for this important aspect of tourism strengthens, tourists also look beyond just ecotourism and delve deeper into types of travel that allow them to respect the local culture, interact with locals and distribute benefits fairly.
All I could think as my water taxi sped through the azure shallows was I had been preparing for this moment my entire life. I stepped off the boat and let my bare feet sink into the soft, white sand on Gulhifushi Island — one of the nearly 200 uninhabited islands of the Maldives — where I smirked at how I finally had an answer to the question that had been replaying in my head since childhood. With one look in my bag, I whispered to myself, “A good book, sunscreen and a bottle of water.”