Singapore, 15 December 2011. Following the success of the Gaia Discovery website (www.gaiadiscovery.com), publisher Mallika Naguran has put together a new handy guide for tourists who want to engage with their destinations – not just visit them (download the ecotravel Gaia Guide here and view Gaia Guide on SlideShare here).
“The guide is a step in the right direction for preserving Asian beauty, heritage, culture, environments and communities,” writes Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Prizewinner and President of Timor Leste in his opening foreword to the Gaia Guide.
Ramos-Horta points out that eco-tourism is growing three times faster than ordinary tourism – and so needs a guide. “Staying with ethical resorts or booking with eco-tour operators will help support them, while ensuring a sustainable future for all,” he adds. Ramos-Horta is also Gaia Discovery’s honorary advisor.
The Gaia Guide covers things like what to do and how to travel to ensure you cause least environmental impact; what to look for in an ethical tourist operator; how to help local indigenous communities; eco-diving advice; sound eco-lodge design, expert opinion on responsible tourism – and a list of upcoming eco-tourism events, activities and festivals in Asia.
“We put the Gaia Guide together partly as an extension of our website, but also as a useful pocket reference that people can take with them when they travel,” says Naguran.
Covering destinations like Sarawak, Sikkim, Borneo, Timor Leste and Puerto Galera, the guide draws on the expertise of the Gaia Discovery team of writers from across the region.
The section on Dos and Don’ts for the eco-traveller offers tips on how to pack, what to buy, how best to interact with local people and what to take as gifts for their families.
“We’ve had a great response to the Dos and Donts section in particular,” says Naguran. “People have told us they always wanted something they could put in their travel bag and help with environmental issues that come up in more remote places. Now they have one!”
The printed guide is being distributed for free at travel fairs, eco-travel events, environmental talks/seminars, social enterprises, green retail stores, ethical restaurants and cafes in Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Hongkong. The soft copy of the guide is available for download from Gaia Discovery and associate websites, making responsible tourism content freely accessible to travellers worldwide.
Scheduled for production once a year, the guide builds on Gaia Discovery website’s reputation for clear, unbiased reporting for people that care about environmental and eco-tourism issues. Gaia Discovery was established in 2008 and has since reached out to millions of readers, through eNewlsetters, Facebook, Twitter, referral sites and search engines.