It’s more than simply buzzwords, sustainable tourism has a tangible impact
In Israel, sustainable tourism practices have advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, to reduce any negative impact of visitors to the country’s natural landscape and local communities.
With tourism numbers peaking once again, countries globally have an individual and shared responsibility to hold themselves accountable for maintaining current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, according to the World Tourism Organization.
Israel is making real headway—whether it’s improving public transportation with bike rentals and other accessible modes of transport that reduce cars on the roads, supporting and promoting small, local businesses, discovering the country through food, music, the arts and the eyes of the people who live and know it best—Israel’s eco and ethical approaches are helping toward a greener, cleaner, more prosperous and better-preserved land for future generations.
Supporting local communities and businesses
Israel is ranked number one on the Global Cleanteach Innovation Index in Northern Africa and Western Asia. Inching toward the 1000 sustainable-approach start-ups mark, the country’s innovative spin on agriculture, water management, produced goods, and Isfiya a Druze village, where you’ll be able to sample local cuisine and soak up the warm hospitality, are just a few examples.
Other local initiatives include
- The annual Hullegeb Israel-Ethiopian Arts Festival: A gathering of music, dance and theater to promote and celebrate the culture of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.
- Sindyanna of Galilee: A female-empowered nonprofit based on selling Arab producers’ olive oil and other products, based on the ideas of business for peace and Fair Trade in Israel, as well as supporting sustainable agriculture and organic farming.io-products, and renewable energy is making significant strides in these sectors. In fact, this has created an entirely newjob market across the country. Many of these technologies influence the tourism industry, reducing your carbon footprint and impact on the environment. Booking a tech tour is a fascinating way to discover these companies.
- On your next visit to Israel, you can support sustainable practices by shopping locally. Local businesses are the fabric of Israel’s society and supporting local is as simple as popping into one of the dozens of creative vegan dining spots, buying handmade products (brands include Lavido and Olea Essence), fashion picks at second-hand and thrift stores (check out Flashback, Limonada TLV and Hamezion), purchasing handcrafted goods at markets (Nachalat Binyamin arts and crafts fair is a must-see) and boutiques, direct from the manufacturer.
Celebrating local cultures
Israel’s diverse blend of cultures is part of its magic. Jews (from all over the world), Muslims, Christians and Druze individually bring a flavor of individual culture to the general mix. You’ll see these cultures collide in many ways, whether through food, music, arts, theater or historical sites. Places like Shuk Levinksy in Tel Aviv and its sprawl of stalls and goodies, Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem, where hundreds of vendors sell locally sourced and
Kuchinate: Purchase beautiful hand-crafted jewelry or pieces for your home at Kuchinate, an artistic economic and psychosocial collective that has helped transform the lives of African asylum-seeking women living in south Tel Aviv.
Protecting Natural Resources
Israel is a top destination for sustainable tourism in practice. The Society for Protection of Nature in Israell (SPNI) is the country’s biggest independent nonprofit environmental organization working toward a more sustainable future. From promoting urban nature, and advancing solar energy to helping more than half a billion birds along the world’s most significant migration fly route, the SPNI is tireless in its efforts.
The Israel Nature Parks Authority (INPA) is involved in many other sustainability projects and initiatives—including The National Sea Turtle Rescue Center, has rescued over 700 injured sea turtles, rehabilitating them before sending them back into the wild.
Here’s a list of projects you can see in action!
Coral Beach Nature Reserve
The Coral Beach Nature Reserve is a stunning example of preserved nature on the reefs of the Gulf of Eilat. A magnificent variety of stunning coral and schools of fish, alongside incredible sea creatures, can be spotted along the way. You can opt for a snorkeling experience for an up close and personal encounter or visit the Eilat Coral World Underwater Observatory for a peak. The INPA closes off sensitive areas of the reserve to avoid disturbances to the habitat. It takes local action to minimize any damage to the region, including controlling the number of visitors entering the reef and guiding visitors along set routes.
Resting on the edge of the expansive Negev Desert, Yatir Forest is a 30,000-dunam expanse home to Israel’s largest planted forest. On a mission to ‘turn the desert green,’ the KKL-JNF started planting in 1966 and has since had a tremendous impact on the surrounding landscape. Trees, which tower at an average height of 10 meters, the space is home to around 120 trees per acre, which together ‘swallow’ polluting compounds and particles and produce thousands upon thousands of kilograms of oxygen annually. You can explore part of this incredible site on the Israel Trail as it intercepts Yatir Forest.
Abraham has hosted tens of thousands of tourists worldwide while following a model of “sustainable tourism” across the company and the local and wider community. From direct and fair employment to supporting local and small businesses, our mission is to bridge gaps and promote a stronger society. We regularly host local Israeli artists through exhibitions across our hostels and Art Shop.
We also step into local communities for visitors to meet and learn about the various groups living within the regional conflict. Our dual narrative tours in Hebron, the West Bank and Jerusalem, offer different perspectives with participants forming their own opinions.