Sustainable tourism, from A to Z – Part 2

Traditional models of tourism are becoming unsustainable. The threat of resource depletion and destruction of our environment is a reality. The resources that the tourism industry relies heavily on are being exhausted.

Credit Alandis Travel

In this 3-part article we will see why sustainable tourism is the alternative to conventional tourism. Part 2 describes the many types of sustainable tourism.

What are the main types of sustainable tourism?

The diversity of the offer today is wide and evolving:


Tourist activities without altering the natural areas where it takes place. The purpose of ecotourism is to enjoy, appreciate and study natural attractions.

Ecotourism – The Natural Park of Aigüestortes, Lleida, Spain (Source: Jan Padilla on Unsplash)

The perfect example is walking through The Natural Park of Aigüestortes (Lleida, Spain) guided by a local expert and appreciating its diversity. This is a great example of minimal impact on the environment.

Green Tourism

Green tourism promotes destinations and activities that are not overcrowded. Rural initiatives that respect the environment and propose healthy activities. 

Green tourism – Torre del Marqués Hotel (source: Torre del Marqués Hotel)

Take a look at the green and sustainable Hotel Torre del Marqués (Matarraña, Teruel, Spain). It has facilities designed for a more optimal use of resources. It uses renewable energies and techniques, as well as construction materials that help thermal insulation.

Cultural Tourism

Cultural tourism is inspired by the appreciation of culture in any of its manifestations.

Cultural tourism – The Roman Theatre, Mérida, Spain (Source: Helen Rickard)

At Alandis Travel we place great importance on exposure to tangible and intangible heritage. A great example of this is how we integrate UNESCO World Heritage Sites into our programs.

Responsible Tourism

Responsible tourism tries to reduce the negative impact of tourism in general, whether in the economic, social, cultural, or ecosystem sense.

Responsible tourism – The Responsible Tourist Decalogue (Source: Alandis Travel)

Solidarity Tourism

Solidarity tourism aims to deeply understand, appreciate, and empathize with the destination we visit. A key component is collaborating somehow to promote development of the area. 

Solidarity tourism – Clients on their visit to Akokan, January 2020 (Source: Alandis Travel)

At Alandis Travel we too understand the importance of this; on many of our Cuba programs we collaborate with local social projects such as Akokan, located in a marginalized neighborhood of Havana. Among its objectives is the dissemination of traditions related to the Afro-Cuban religion.

Our travelers are grateful to escape from tourist clichés and to get to experience a deeper cultural immersion. They help by disseminating their own intangible heritage and contributing financially to the local economy.


Geotourism promotes activities based on learning the geographic value of a destination. A magnificent example of a geosite is the Cuenca Minera de Riotinto (Spain). It has unique conditions that have made it worthy of study by NASA itself. 

Geotourism – Riotinto mines, Huelva, Spain (Source: LBM1948)

Soft Tourism

Soft tourism refers to a low impact tourism that hardly alters autochthonous (indigenous) elements, while respecting the environment. 

Soft tourism (Source: Alandis Travel)

Rural Tourism

Rural tourism is developed in agricultural areas. Tourists can interact with the community by sharing traditions and customs (both ways!).

Rural tourism – Clients on a horseback ride in Viñales, January 2020 (Source: Alandis Travel)

A clear example would be horseback riding through tobacco plantations in rural Cuba. Here, the practice of sustainable tourism is very diverse; a direct contact with nature despite very little impact. The client gets to have a more authentic experience, away from conglomerate areas. The local culture and economy receive wider recognition through the tobacco industry, while tourist pressure is significantly reduced.

As a result, it helps the economy, labor retention, and the preservation of the environment.


Another modality of rural tourism is agrotourism. Agrotourism takes place in agricultural areas and is complemented by further activities based on local agricultural practices and livestock handling. It’s a wonderfully direct contact with these traditions and ways of life.

Agrotourism – Renowned locally produced cheese at Cabrales, in Asturias, Spain (Source: Alandis Travel)

This is the case of visits to Cabrales (Asturias, Spain), where tourists can learn about the production of local Cabrales cheese.

Community-based Tourism

Community-based tourism is a more human form of tourism. Everyone involved in the development and management is from/native to the local population. This results in a large part of the economic benefits being received directly by the local population.

Community-based tourism – Clients with their host family, 2019 (Source: Alandis Travel)

On Alandis Travel’s Cuban tours we encourage the choice of “casas particulares” as our travelers’ lodging on the island. It’s a “Cuban Airbnb” housed in authentic architectural masterpieces where travelers don’t want for any comforts.

This facilitates the participation of the local population who are hosts in their own homes. The client benefits from having a more real experience, despite maintaining their independence and privacy.

We hope you found interest in the many types of sustainable tourism. Ecotourism, Green tourism, Cultural tourism, Responsible tourism, Solidarity tourism, Geotourism, Soft tourism, Rural tourism, Agrotourism and Community-based tourism, the choice is yours.

Part 3 of this 3-part series defines the principles and promotion of sustainable tourism and suggests best practices.

You can get more information on how to organize your next sustainable vacation at alandistravel.com

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