An Amis tribal village and the northeast and Yilan coast area of Taiwan have been selected as two of the world's top 100 green destinations of 2016.
It is the first time Taiwan has been included in the selection of the Top 100 Green Destinations, a new global ranking started in 2014 of tourist destinations according to their sustainability credentials.
The selected green village, located in Fuli Township of Hualien County in eastern Taiwan, was registered in 2012 as the "Chihalaay Cultural Landscape Area."
It is known for its rich natural resources, rice terraces and historic irrigation systems that are still used by the local tribal people, according to a description of the village on the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 website.
"The tribal committee has founded a convention to protect this cultural landscape and it is actively engaged in developing more eco-friendly agricultural practices.
"Locals do not use herbicides and pesticides in this area and they promote organic rice farming. Moreover, all the tour operators in the region are local people and a part of financial benefits is used to provide social services for the community, such as elderly care and childcare," the website states.
The Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area was awarded for "offering its visitors green mountains and clear water, as well as cultural heritage sites."
"The destination develops eco-friendly tourism and works actively to become a sustainable destination. Locals have been working on improving wastewater treatment, solid waste management, reducing the use of water and carbon emissions," according to Green Destinations, the organization that produced the 2016 list through a global selection panel.
The top 100 sustainable destinations of the world for this year were awarded Sept. 27 in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, which was designated as the European Green Capital for 2016.
According to Monique Chen (???), chairwoman of Sustainable Travel Taiwan, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has declared that 2017 will be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development.
Prior to that declaration late last year, the selection of green destinations began in 2014 in the international community, Chen said.
She noted that it was her organization that nominated Chihalaay for the 2016 green destinations selection, while Brain Mullis, the chief executive of Sustainable Travel International, invited the administration of the Northeast and Yilan National Scenic Area to enter the competition.
The goal of the Top 100 Green Destinations rankings is not to sort out perfect green and sustainable tourist destinations, but to "recognize tourism destinations that have worked hard to make a difference and take sustainability seriously," Chen said.
Five major criteria are used when making the selections -- nature and landscape, environment and climate, culture and tradition, residents and reception, and sustainable management, Chen said, noting that the last criterion plays the deciding role in the ranking.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel