Sustainable and Responsible Travel or Tourism in Spain
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Sustainable Tourism - What is it & Where to Find it in Spain

Compare flight distances and CO2 emissions
Flights from London Gatwick to:
Bilbao - 890Km, 0.16t CO2
Barcelona - 1110Km - 0.20t CO2
Alicante - 1430Km - 0.26t CO2
Athens (Greece) 2390Km, 0.47t CO2
Bodrum (Turkey) 2680, 0.48t CO2
Distance information from, CO2 calculations based on information published by National Energy Foundation.

We ask Rental and B&B advertisers on this site the following questions. If they answer yes to all of them, their listing is marked as meeting our Sustainable/Responsible Tourism guidelines.

  • Your property has not impacted on the local environment or culture.
  • You either supply local produce or local produce is readily available.
  • Local restaurants provide locally produced food.
  • Guests are able to take part in activities that do not affect the environment - eg walking, birdwatching, swimming in the sea.
  • You encourage/facilitate guests to recycle relevant rubbish.
  • Energy saving facilities are used wherever possible.

What is Sustainable Tourism?
It is tourism that has as little impact on the local environment and culture as possible, while being of benefit to the local people.
Responsible tourism is aimed more at the tourist and the tourism organisers taking responsibility for the effect that their holiday and travel may have on the environment. Being responsible can lead towards sustainability.

Why is this important?
Tourism is possibly the worlds largest industry and is expanding. It is an important industry, often generating income in geographical areas where other forms of employment have been lost. Holidays are important to people, they have earned it, want to enjoy it, but are also concerned at the effect their holiday may have on the environment and the people who live and work near their destination.
But, in places tourism has taken over and transformed a coastline or a community, and travel to the destination may be responsible for large amounts of CO2 emissions.

Does a holiday in Spain comply with the notion of Sustainable Tourism?
In some cases, that would certainly not be the case, but away from the high rise coastal developments and the golf courses there is plenty of scope for compliance.
For a start, if you are wanting to head to the sun, Spain probably provides the shortest possible flights from the UK compared to other destinations. Travelling by one of the ferry services to Spain would result in lower CO2 emissions still, certainly feasible if exploring the north coast.

Fancy being rural?
Rural tourism is actively encouraged in Spain, and in many areas accommodation is available at a density level that is unlikely to have a detrimental effect on the environment or the culture, yet introduces extra income into the local economy, facilitating the preservation of the local cultures.

Enjoy the local cuisine?
An important step in responsible tourism, leading towards sustainability, is using local produce and eating local food. Though not particularly known for it's cuisine (except perhaps for the Basque Region) Spain has some excellent food to offer, and the small Spanish restaurant in a rural area is likely to be using seasonal produce from the local markets.
If you are self catering, you will be able to buy local produce from markets, and most supermarkets stock a high proportion of Spanish produce.


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