We gain so much from travelling, but we also have a duty to give back to the places we visit. That's why Holiday Extras has teamed up with the Travel Foundation, a wonderful charity that aims to do exactly that!
The Foundation has projects all over the world that aim to reduce the negative impacts of tourism. In 2016, Holiday Extras customers raised almost Â£100,000 for the charity, so we thought we'd find out how that money has helped one of our favourite locations. Back in July, we headed to the Mugla region of Turkey with Sabina from Girl vs Globe to find out more about their Taste of Fethiye and Blue Wave projects.
The Taste of Fethiye project aimed to link local farmers and markets to local businesses such as restaurants and hotels. Encouraging businesses to buy locally not only means that the local economy is benefiting, it also means that the food on your plate hasn't travelled hundreds of miles to get there. That means less carbon emissions, less packaging and happy locals!
Amazingly, there are even more benefits to sourcing locally grown food, and the proof was in the pudding (or, in this case, the baklava)! When you're on holiday, you can be a responsible traveller by opting for local restaurants instead of big chains. You can find more tips on travelling sustainably here!
The Taste of Fethiye project ran for five years and it was one of the Travel Foundation's most successful projects yet. The results? Local farmers, like Ilknur in our video, have increased their revenue by a whopping 24 hotels now buy "Taste of Fethiye" produce and we were lucky enough to visit a few, some of which you can see in our video. If you're ever in the area, then we'd definitely recommend visiting Mozaik Bahce, Hotel Unique, Yacht Boutique and Belcekiz Beach Club.
While we were in Turkey we were lucky enough to learn more about a new project called Blue Wave. Blue Wave is a project carried out in partnership with the Chamber of Shipping, TURMEPA, D Marin and the Travel Foundation.
The Blue Wave project is about minimising the effects of marine tourism, keeping the destinations we love beautiful for future generations. It aims to do this by educating both tourists and local operators about sustainable practices.
If you ever visit the Mugla region of Turkey you'll notice that there are a refreshing number of recycling bins and notices reminding people to clean up after themselves on the beach. We all know that litter-strewn beaches aren't nice to look at. But unfortunately the issue isn't purely aesthetic. Plastic floating into the sea can be lethal to animals, such as seals, that could get caught up in it and strangled. Some animals, like turtles, may also mistake plastic for food, causing blockages in their digestive systems. That is why it's so important to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastic that we use, not only on holiday, but in day-to-day life.
The project is still a very new one, so there aren't many results to speak of yet. But if you're interested in learning more about the project, you can read about it here, or watch our video on Facebook.
So that's it from our time in Turkey! We hoped you enjoyed learning about the Travel Foundation's incredible projects in Fethiye. If you want to be inspired for your next trip, check out our top green destinations and remember to like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!
Written by Caroline Adams - Social Media Genius at Holiday Extras with a passion for sustainable living and Dr Martens.Top