13 Eco-Tourism Companies To Help You Book Your Next Sustainable Adventure
Traveling the world can be a great way to expand your worldview and experience different cultures.
But unfortunately, travel is simply not an eco-friendly activity, and researching sustainable travel options is time-consuming.
Enter: the best eco-tourism companies.
Ethical travel companies do the work of finding the best eco-friendly transportation, accommodation, and experiences, so all you have to do is decide on your destination and book the trip.
Eco-friendly travel companies range from fully guided tours to booking sites where you can plan your own trip using a set of pre-vetted companies and activities–so regardless of your travel style, you’re earning a few more sustainable travel miles.
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Ready, Set, Jet With The Top Eco-Tour Companies
Hailing from the land of baguettes and the Eiffel Tower, French company Holiable is an eco booking site that ranks businesses by a set of green criteria that spans sustainability areas of concern.
You’ve heard of AirBnB, but what about Fairbnb.coop?
If you’re looking for ecotourism companies in Europe, this one is not to be missed. They’re just like their unfair (cough cough gentrifying) namesake, except they pay it back to the communities their hosts are located in by putting 50% of profits toward community projects.
Earth Changers is a planet-minded eco-tourism company committed to aggressively reducing carbon emissions associated with travel, without relying solely on carbon offsets.
Sitting in the slow lounge with your sustainable luggage and waiting to board your flight?Itineraries
Then read up what it means to be among the best eco tour companies by jet-setting to the bottom.
The Full List Of Sustainable Travel Companies
- Holiable | Explore Itineraries
- Rooms for Change | Explore Itineraries
- Book Different | Explore Itineraries
- FairBnB.coop | Explore Itineraries
- Earth Changers | Explore Itineraries
- Earthwatch | Explore Itineraries
- Natural Habitat Adventures | Explore Itineraries
- G Adventures | Explore Itineraries
- Seacology | Explore Itineraries
- Intrepid Travel | Explore Itineraries
- Gondwana Ecotours | Explore Itineraries
- ByWay | Explore Itineraries
- Responsible Travel | Explore Itineraries
Made with love in France, Holiable is an eco-tourism company focused on helping you find sustainable accommodations, restaurants, and activities in your destination of choice.
Each experience includes a list of available green features, which include eco-friendly transportation, sustainable food, ethical and eco-friendly products, responsible resource management, cultural preservation, and waste management.
For the experiences that have been tested by Holiable staff, they consider several criteria, including commitment to cultural integrity, eco-friendly practices, and ethical business practices.
Holiable has the most accommodation available in Europe, but they have stays available in other places as well, including Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Holiable’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
This eco travel agency is a member of the French association Acteurs du Tourisme Durable, which is a professional network dedicated to sustainable tourism.
Environmental protection is a core part of Holiable’s value set, and they advocate for eco-friendly and socially conscious tourism through all their operations.
2. Rooms for Change
About Rooms for Change
Rooms for Change isn’t an eco tourism operator, but rather a non-profit accommodation booking site with 100% of proceeds going towards travel scholarships that give disadvantaged youth, senior citizens, and veterans a chance to travel.
Their third-party accommodation partners range from sustainable hotels to home rentals, so there’s a destination for any length of stay.
No matter where you’re planning your eco vacations–U.S., Europe, Canada, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, Asia, and the South Pacific—there are sustainable hotels everywhere for you to book through Rooms for Change.
Rooms for Change’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Because Rooms for Change is a non-profit, 100% of the proceeds and donations they collect through their operations go toward the travel scholarships that form the core mission of their business.
They sponsor as many trips as they can, based on budget and availability. If there is someone in your life who you think would benefit from a travel scholarship, you can recommend them to Rooms for Change through their website.
An eco-friendly accommodation booking site with a heart for sustainability, bookdifferent has a worldwide database of sustainable stays that have passed their robust checks.
They evaluate management of each listed accommodation for sustainability and legal compliance, equitable employee treatment, respect for local cultures and traditions, and care for the environment.
Each area is represented by a green heart—the accommodation sites with all four hearts indicate the greenest choice.
bookdifferent has thousands of different accommodation options all over the globe, so the world is your oyster.
bookdifferent’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
bookdifferent has signed the International Tourism Plastic Pledge, which indicates their commitment to reducing plastic pollution from the travel industry.
They’ve partnered with Clean the World to highlight hotels that minimize plastic pollution, which is a criterion you can filter by when searching for accommodation on the site.
They also provide guidance and resources for sustainable travel destinations, travel tips, and business focused tools for enabling sustainable business travel.
A direct play on the AirBnB brand, Fairbnb.coop offers a similar service of connecting guests with hosts, but with an intentional, ethical component. The prices are similar to using AirBnb, but 50% of Fairbnb.coop’s commission goes towards social projects in hosts’ local communities.
Signing up as a host is free, and the cost is the same for the consumer, but with a fair greater social impact than using a similar rental service.
Right now Fairbnb.coop accommodation is available in Europe and the UK, but availability depends on the interest and participation of hosts, so new Fairbnbs could be coming to you any time, just like the system is coming to Canada in the near future.
Fairbnb.coop’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Fairbnb.coop has a co-op based business model, with different nodes collecting all stays in one geographic area. Co-op members get to decide how their node is run, and how they can incorporate sustainable tourism into their community.
Many of the community projects Fairbnb.coop sponsors through their commission fees support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, addressing issues like sustainable food systems and access, gender equality, clean energy, and sustainable communities.
5. Earth Changers
About Earth Changers
Partnering with eco-friendly tour operators and accommodations around the world, Earth Changers is an eco travel company living by their core values of adventure and connection with integrity.
Earth Changers is primarily a booking site, providing a database of experiences and stays that have been curated and vetted to be the most sustainable options for your trip.
Looking for Galapagos eco tour companies?
That’s just the start of where you can travel to through Earth Changers.
You can also go to other destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America—or none of the above, by way of a sailing adventure.
Earth Changers’ Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Earth Changers is fiercely committed to combating climate change, and they are aggressively reducing and minimizing their carbon emissions from the very start.
Additionally, many of their partners are actively combatting waste and pollution in their communities, and are using innovative waste to reduce consumption and damage to the environment.
Because of this, you may be asked to comply with certain requirements during your stay, such as using natural, eco-friendly toiletries.
If you’re looking for companies specializing in ecotourism and environmental education alike, watch out for Earthwatch.
A nonprofit that supports scientific research, Earthwatch connects travelers with environmental scientists to conduct fieldwork in one of the 40 field research expeditions they have available.
Whether you want to focus on ocean health, wildlife and ecosystems, climate change, or archaeology, there is a science focused adventure available for various interests and activity levels.
You’ll find adventures from this ecotourism company in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Earthwatch’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Earthwatch’s scientific research has significantly informed legislation and environmental action in countries around the world, and helps guide organizations in sustainability practices based on their research.
They also work with Girls in Science and other organizations to help give students opportunities to learn STEM subjects hands-on in the field.
7. Natural Habitat Adventures
About Natural Habitat Adventures
Focusing on exciting and sustainable nature adventures, Natural Habitat Adventures’ mission is conservation through exploration.
They are also the World Wildlife Fund’s conservation travel partner, with your tourism dollars going towards environmental protection and development.
With small groups and unique itineraries, their guided trips take you to spectacular destinations like the U.S. national parks (perfect for eco vacations U.S. residents will find accessible), Antarctica, and more.
Natural Habitat Adventures’ Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Natural Habitat Adventures makes environmental conservation the core of their business, and whether it’s the pursuit of conservation projects like plastic-free travel or their pioneering eco camping trip in Yellowstone, they’re making concrete steps to be sustainable.
In addition to their waste reduction efforts on trips, they are also reducing waste in their Colorado office, providing TerraCycle boxes onsite for employees and zero waste products throughout the facilities.
They’ve been carbon-neutral since 2007, mitigating their carbon dioxide output through offsets.
8. G Adventures
About G Adventures
Providing adventure tours led by experienced locals, G Adventures uses community tourism to make an impact.
With a focus on animal welfare, child welfare, and respectively local and indigenous communities, G Adventures believes community tourism is an eco travel methodology that is sustainable for the world and fun for the individual.
Each local tour operator is rated with a Ripple Score to indicate how much money from the tour stays in the local community.
G Adventures has tours on every continent, so there’s an eco tourism guide wherever you may desire to go.
G Adventures’ Ethical & Sustainability Practices
G Adventures partners with Travel Without Plastic to analyze their operations to reduce single use plastic across their tours, offices, and events.
Their non-profit partner, Planeterra, works on empowering local people and harnessing the benefits of tourism for good as a continuation of G Adventures’ focus on community tourism nd eco travels.
For environmental-focused adventuring, the nonprofit environmental organization Seacology offers expeditions exploring islands throughout the world.
The primary purpose of Seacology is to help protect delicate island ecosystems around the world, working directly with local communities to preserve habitats and strengthen their local culture.
Through their eco-tourism program, they’re both giving people the ability to see remote, hard-to-see island destinations and giving them an up-close look at Seacology’s conservation work and the positive impact it’s having on these destinations.
Each expedition visits different environmental projects of Seacology, and vary depending on availability, so check their website to see if there is an upcoming adventure right for you.
Seacology’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
The focus of Seacology is on island habitats, but also other key eco-systems including mangroves, peatlands, and seagrass. Not only do these ecosystems trap massive amounts of carbon, but they are also threatened and vulnerable to development.
Part of their environmental initiatives include empowering locals to protect their own ecosystems, and Seacology provides an award every year to an islander noted for their significant contributions to conserving local environments and culture.
10. Intrepid Travel
About Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel can help you get to anywhere in the world—that’s all seven continents, including Antarctica. The purpose driven adventure travel company curates exciting travel experiences to all corners of the globe that are eco-friendly and culturally conscious.
They also partner with academic researchers to conduct community based tourism research projects in South America and Asia.
Intrepid travel experiences are designed to fit your needs and interests while supporting communities with initiatives surrounding climate change and social justice.
Intrepid Travel’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
If you want tour companies that are certified, ecotourism doesn’t get more legit than Intrepid.
As one of the best ecotourism companies in Australia, Intrepid has a Reconciliation Action Plan that is committed to reconciling as a business with the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait islanders.
11. Gondwana Ecotours
About Gondwana Ecotours
Specializing in private tours and small group trips, Gondwana Ecotours perpetuates environmentally sustainable travel throughout all their adventures.
Preserving ecosystems for future generations is an important component of eco travel, which is why Gondwana Ecotours hires local guides who know their environment intimately and care about preserving it for the benefit of their community.
This sustainable travel company currently offering trips in Alaska, Argentina, Costa Rica, Rwanda, Louisiana, and Tanzania.
Gondwana Ecotours Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Every year, Gondwana donates a portion of their profits to local nonprofits based in the locations where they organize tours.
All their tours have been certified carbon-neutral since 2021, and they’re also a member of the International Ecotourism Society.
One of the best sustainable travel companies UK residents can take advantage of, Byway is a flight-free travel booking company that harnesses the power of trains to get you to oodles of European destinations (and Morocco). No planes necessary.
Byway acts like a travel agent, helping you curate the best sustainable trip for you and your needs.
You can either build your own trip or select from one of their best-selling trips curated by travel experts. All transportation and accommodations are included as part of your booking, and if you need help while you’re on your trip, you can contact Byway’s eco travel agents anytime.
Byway’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Byway is a Certified B Corp, and they regularly publish an impact report indicating their progress towards their sustainability goals.
They also help to encourage significant reductions in carbon through their flight-free philosophy, which cuts carbon by up to 90% compared to flying.
13. Responsible Travel
About Responsible Travel
An activist travel company that’s researching reducing travel’s carbon footprints, Responsible Travel is one of the best ecotourism companies with a heart for change.
Each experience and tour operator has been extensively screened according to Responsible Travel’s sustainability criteria, so you can be assured that your trip is up to snuff.
They also have specifically curated trips designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Responsible Travel’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
They give an average of 1% of their sales to their Trip for a Trip program, which sends a needful child or youth on an impactful day trip.
They are also actively advocating for reducing the amount of flying that occurs in travel due to the significant carbon footprint of air travel.
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Why Choose Sustainable Travel Companies?
Travel is a polluting industry. There, we said it.
Approximately 8%-11% of the total global carbon footprint is caused by travel and tourism, with 17% of that being contributed to by aviation.
That’s not even to mention the significant social, economic, and cultural damage that can occur in communities because of careless and profit-centric tourism practices.
But before you decide to never leave the house again, know that there are better ways to travel—for starters, following zero waste travel tips and choosing sustainable brands, whether it be for the eco-friendly travel products you’re packing or the companies you’re booking your trip through.
Eco-friendly tourism companies prioritize environmental conservation, carbon reduction, cultural preservation, and social responsibility. This means that they’re harnessing your tourism dollars to make an environmental impact and cause positive economic and social change in the lives of local people.
Eco travel companies also prioritize animal welfare, which is another important area to consider when choosing travel experiences involving animals.
Regardless of whether you want to go explore the great outdoors or are interested in more urban eco luxury holidays, a sustainable travel company can help you find the most sustainable options for your journey.
How We Found The Best Eco-Tourism Companies
What is an eco tourism company?
When we were looking for the best eco-friendly travel companies, sustainable tourism was an obvious must have.
In order to prioritize green travel, we considered the following eco-tourism company criteria:
Obviously, location is the most important part of any trip—otherwise, why would you leave your house?
When it comes to eco-friendly tourism companies, location doesn’t matter as long as traveling there doesn’t harm local ecosystems and cultures.
That being said, we tried to look for companies that had a wide range of destinations to provide the most choices.
Tourism can be a money sucking industry, funneling funds from communities to mega corporations that aren’t even based in the country.
For this reason, we looked for companies that financially empower communities in which they run tours by keeping as many resources as possible at the local level.
Unfortunately, travel can be a significant contributor to animal cruelty (we’re looking at you, African elephant rides), so eco-tourism companies should have a framework in place that ensures animal welfare.
Carbon commitments & green practices:
Which is the best example of ecotourism?
All these criteria are important, but this one is especially key to the eco component of ecotourism.
Because the travel industry contributes so much pollution to the environment, a cornerstone of an eco-friendly travel company is a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of their products and services.
Being carbon-neutral is a start, but going beyond carbon offset programs, the best eco-tourism companies are making steps to reduce their carbon output in the first place, through eliminating single use plastics, using renewable energy, and minimizing air travel as much as possible.
A frequent dark side of mainstream travel is the significant human right violations and cultural disrespect that it perpetuates.
An ethical travel tour operator will ensure the cultural integrity of the places they visit are preserved, working with community members to better the environment together.
We like to see ecotourism companies giving to local nonprofits in the locations where they operate, as well as partnering with organizations that advocate for conservation and empowering of disadvantaged and marginalized people.
Final Thoughts On Sustainable Ecotourism Companies
Just because travel is fun doesn’t mean you have to suspend your beliefs surrounding sustainability.
While the travel industry as a whole has a long way to go, there are many ecotourism companies that are making a difference all over the world, so whether you need a sustainable hotel room or a guided adventure, there’s a sustainable travel option available for you.
Share your renewed—or rather renewable (energy)—sense of enthusiasm for ethical and regenerative travel by sharing this article with your favorite travel buddy, so you can get the creative trip ideas flowing.
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