As an idyllic place to soak in nature and wildlife, New Zealand is one of the world's top nature-oriented travel destinations. To preserve its beauty and culture, the island nation has embraced sustainable, or responsible, tourism.
Although New Zealand has no certification for tour companies, the country encourages small, locally owned outfitters who educate visitors about its environment and cultures.
Sustainable outfitters offer passive and active adventures. Explore the scenery on foot, bike or sea kayak. Some tours include cultural experiences, such as a traditional Maori Hangi Dinner.
New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment defines sustainable tourism as operations that are "waste-wise, water-wise, energy-wise and travel-wise." Outfitters should curb pollution and use as little energy as possible.
Sustainable tourism supports local economies and native communities. Whale Watch Kaikoura is a Maori-owned and operated company guiding tourists to giant sperm whales.
Recognizing nature tourism as economically profitable, New Zealand can curb future development. Promoting sustainable tourism ensures protection of the environment.