Specialists for Nordic Outdoor & Adventure Holidays in the Nordic Countries since 2006


Photo: Nature Travels

FAQs - Eco Holidays

Find out why Nature Travels is an "ecotourism" company and why we do what we do

Terms such as "ecotourism", "sustainable tourism" and "responsible travel" are commonly heard these days, leaving many consumers confused as to what these terms really mean and perhaps suspicious of their value. In this set of FAQs, we have tried to answer some of the questions our clients sometimes ask regarding Nature Travels' commitment to ecotourism and the world of responsible travel in general.

  1. What does Nature Travels do?
  2. What does certification involve?
  3. Why do you only sell experiences in the Nordic countries?
  4. I've heard that Nature Travels supports Rainforest Concern. What does that mean and why is it a good thing?
  5. What does Nature Travels do to be eco-friendly in the UK?
  6. Why don't you publish a brochure?
  7. Why don't you sell flights?
  8. Why should I choose an ecotourism holiday or a responsible tour operator?

What does Nature Travels do?

Nature Travels is the UK specialist for responsible travel to the Nordic countries. We have a network of dozens of small-scale, locally-owned partners in Sweden, Norway and Finland, and offer a wide range of ecotourism experiences, from canoeing and wild camping to dog sledding tours to log cabin holidays.

Eco Holidays

Photo: Andrew Foley.

Many of our local partners are active members of conservation groups in their own countries such as the Swedish Ecotourism Society, an organisation committed to minimising the impact of tourism on the natural environment, and many are also independently certified by environmental labelling.

For example, a number of our partners in Sweden are certified by a body comprising the Swedish Ecotourism Society, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Visit Sweden, with a quality mark for their high standards of environmental practice and customer service. Many have also won additional awards for their commitment to ecotourism, such as the Grand Travel Ecotourism Award.

What does certification involve?

This will vary depending on the country and the nature of the certification. Not all our partner companies will carry formal certification - following one of the principles of ecotourism, we often work with very small companies in the destination countries and in some cases our partner companies may be too small to afford or be appropriate for formal certification.

In this case, we will have discussed and assessed their working practices and their commitment to sustainable practices before beginning our cooperation.

As a general illustration, for the Swedish quality mark mentioned above, providers must meet and maintain adherence to a strict set of criteria covering all aspects of business operations. Every company is regularly assessed and certification can be removed if a company fails to meet the required criteria. The areas covered include:

  • measures to conserve the local environment in which the activities take place
  • animal welfare where animals are used during the experience (e.g. on our dog sledding tours)
  • waste and resource management
  • safety procedures
  • use of local goods and services
  • control of group sizes and visitor pressure on natural areas
  • staff training and customer service
  • use of fuel-efficient and sustainable transport alternatives
  • ongoing commitment to improving environmental performance

If would like more information about these criteria, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Eco Holidays

Photo: Andrew Foley.

Why do you only sell experiences in the Nordic and Baltic countries?

Nature Travels specialises exclusively in Sweden, Norway and Finland, because we know these destinations intimately (particularly Sweden, which was our sole focus when Nature Travels began in 2006), and can offer unrivalled advice and assistance for our clients.

We are based in the UK, but we have personally participated in all the types of experiences we offer, and have been keen outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists all our lives. We have a very close relationship with our partners and we aim to visit them and the areas in which the experiences run as often as possible.

Eco Holidays

Photo: Nature Travels.

Of the two company Directors, husband and wife team Bob and Sofia Carter, Sofia is Swedish herself, from the Stockholm Archipelago, while Bob lived and worked in Sweden before they met.

We focus on the Nordic countries because we know and love these destinations and believe that they offer a unique range of possibilities as destinations for outdoor experiences which is hard to beat, whether you choose to go hiking in the endless daylight of summer or dog sledding in the deep snows of winter.

What's more, the destination countries we offer are some of most progressive countries in the world when it comes to the support and development of sustainable tourism. Sweden, for example, is showing admirable foresight in addressing the challenges of tourism, and its ecotourism quality label system has become an established standard on which other countries have now begun to base their own systems.

Eco Holidays

Photo: Nature Travels.

I've heard that Nature Travels supports Rainforest Concern. What does that mean and why is it a good thing?

Nature Travels works in partnership with Rainforest Concern to contribute to the protection of the Neblina Reserve in north-west Ecuador.

The protection of this valuable cloudforest habitat of course has a significant climate benefit in helping to sequester carbon, but it is a not a "carbon offset" project.

Rather, the proection of the reserve brings multiple benefits, including making a contribution in the fight against climate change, but also protecting an area of extremely high biodiversity which is of great value to the local community.

When booking, you are invited to make a voluntary donation to the product. For simplicity, we offer a fixed-price donation amount, but you are also welcome to donate more or less than this.

Find out more about how your donation to Rainforest Concern will be used.

Eco Holidays

Photo: Nature Travels.

What does Nature Travels do to be eco-friendly in the UK?

Nature Travels makes every effort to conduct its business in an environmentally-responsible manner. We choose energy-efficient appliances throughout the office (or, in the case of the office fridge for example, second-hand products), turn off as many appliances as possible when not in use, and recycle what small amount of paper we use. Our used stamps go towards raising funds for environmental charities. We also donate a percentage of our profits each year to local conservation projects in the Nordic countries and at home.

We aim to minimise paper usage in general by corresponding with our clients via email as much as possible - no information is posted and there is no requirement for you to print hard copies of any of the information for your trip.

Why don't you publish a brochure?

Every year, around 45 million holidays are taken in the UK. On average, four travel brochures are produced for each holiday sold, making a total of 180 million brochures distributed every year! If you placed these end to end, they would cover the distance from London to Sydney three times!

Eco Holidays

Photo: Nature Travels.

As an ecotourism company, we do not produce a printed brochure. Instead, we provide comprehensive information on all our tours on our website. Further relevant documentation is also sent by email after booking.

This not only reduces our paper consumption considerably, but also allows us to update our tour information whenever needed, providing the latest available information on the tours, dates and transport routes. However, if you prefer, we are happy to email details of any particular tours you may be interested in. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or would like to discuss anything about our experiences and we will be pleased to answer your questions.

Why don't you sell flights?

We do not sell the flight component of your trip, though we are more than happy to advise you on suitable connections and assist you in finding the best transport alternatives to your destination, including taking forward a detailed travel plan if you wish (we make no extra charge for this service - we are here to help).

If you are willing to take a little extra time and make the journey part of your holiday experience, you can choose to travel without flying, either by ferry mainland Europe then onward by public transport, or by train all the way from the UK. Within the destination countries, there is an excellent and affordable network of train and bus connections to take you to even the most remote areas, particularly in Sweden and Finland, where train lines even reach to or close to the very far north of the countries.

If you do choose to fly, there are a number of low-cost options which may not be open to you if booking a flight-inclusive holiday. Low-cost carriers such as Ryanair operate regular services to major and regional airports, and flying in this way can significantly reduce the overall cost of your holiday. If you do decide to fly, we hope that you will opt to add the small cost of a carbon offset.

Eco Holidays

Photo: Nature Travels.

Why should I choose an ecotourism holiday or a responsible tour operator?

For the customer, choosing an ecotourism holiday is not only a positive ethical choice, but is also a reassurance that you will be visiting an area where visitor numbers are strictly controlled and the local environment is cared for, enhancing your enjoyment of your visit.

Nature Travels clients may choose us because of our environmental and ethical credentials, or they may simply be attracted by our range of exciting and unique outdoor experiences offered in the Nordic countries. Whatever the initial reason for choosing an ecotourism holiday, there are significant benefits both in terms of the environmental impact of your holiday and in your enjoyment of the holiday experience.

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