Even if most of us cook our food at home, it doesn´t prevent us from going to a restaurant now and then. It´s pretty much the same with our nature experiences. We don´t always have to do everything ourselves, carry heavy loads or live primitively. Often a trip is, even more fun, more comfortable and more enjoyable when we use the experience, equipment, and knowledge of others.
The quality label Nature’s Best is a decisive reason why nature tourism is now developing so quickly in Sweden. The label was launched in 2002 and was then the first of its kind in the Northern hemisphere. It is often considered the most demanding and detailed quality brand in the world.
The focal point is the quality of the travel experience, combined with strict environment and nature conservation measures, as well as a clear local connection. Internationally, this is usually called eco-tourism.
So are you ready for the white nights of the Swedish summer, or its deep-frozen winter scenery and the mysterious northern lights?
Try dog sledding to the Ice Hotel, driving a reindeer sleigh with Sami herdsmen, salmon fishing, hiking with pack reindeer in Lapland, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting, canoeing, timber rafting, horse riding expeditions, boat trips in the archipelagos, wolf tracking, fly fishing…And much, much more!
Nature’s Best is Europe’s first eco-label that assures the quality of hundreds of tours run by nearly hundred eco-certified tour operators around the country. Which means if you book a trip with one of Nature’s Best tour operators you know that they have to adhere to a strict code of conduct, and you make a positive contribution to the environment where your tour or activity is taking place. – This is eco-tourism in Sweden at its best.
Nature’s Best six basic principles
1. Respect the limitations of the destination – minimise the negative impacts on local nature and culture. Ecotourism is about preserving what the visitor has come to experience. The ecological and cultural capacity of each area must be respected. This means tour operators must have a solid knowledge of the destination, local presence and work closely with others present in the area.
2. Support the local economy. Ecotourism is about community development. Conservation can easily fail if local people object to it. Tangible benefits from tourism are a positive force. Each visitor contributes economically to the well being of the destination by renting rooms, hiring local guides and purchasing goods and services. The more, the better.
3. Make all the operator’s activities environmentally sustainable. Ecotour operators must set a good example of a sound environmental practice. Approved operators have policies to minimise environmental impact by prioritizing, e.g., collective transport, sustainable lodging, waste management, etc.…
4. Contribute actively to nature and cultural conservation. Ecotourism assumes responsibility for the protection of biodiversity and special cultural values. This means supporting nature preservation in various ways. Our operators cooperate to find ‘win-win’ ways of doing business.
5. Promote knowledge and respect and the joy of discovery. Ecotourism is about traveling with curiosity and a respectful mindset. Approved operators are competent hosts providing visitors with a good introduction to the area. Good advice and guidance are often the keys to a memorable trip.
6. Quality and safety all the way. Ecotourism is quality tourism. Approved tours must meet and even exceed our customers’ high expectations. Safety issues are taken very seriously, and we have many satisfied customers. An approved tour operator is a trusted supplier and partner.
These basic principles have been interpreted and listed in a document of criteria signed by each certified operator.
Check out Nature’s Best approved companies
Visit Swedish ecotourism society for more info