Chamonix is an area rich in eco-tourism, a place that firmly believes in responsible touring. They advocate the use of reclaimable and locally sourced building materials, car sharing is heavily promoted and they have a well-developed free public transport system. Local authorities are pushing hard for Chamonix to qualify for the much-coveted Environment Management Standard and feel confident of gaining recognition in the next year.
Their Territorial Climate Energy Plan is aimed at raising awareness amongst locals and visitors and deals with such issues as transport and travel, habitats and control and disposal of waste. Tourism is also a major force in the region and its popularity as both a summer and winter destination means it needs to have a responsible tourist policy in operation all year around.
Chamonix sits in the shadow of Mont Blanc's towering frame and forms one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. It popularity is such that it is the third most visited mountain in the world, putting a lot of pressure on green residents of Chamonix. This is the place where tourists can really challenge themselves and includes in its activities such things as ice climbing, rafting, paragliding and canyoning.
Since hosting the 1928 Winter Olympics, Chamonix has gradually experienced a change from an agricultural existence to one based on tourism. The natural beauty and plentiful resources found within the area are a big attraction to mountaineers and ski enthusiasts alike. Throughout the year you can find people either looking for the ski lifts and slopes or pathways to the great trails across the Mont Blanc Massif.
The area has developed a good network of varied hotels, hostels and B&B accommodations to cater for all purses. There are luxurious 5-star hotels with close access to the ski slopes and peaceful remote family run B&B's that provide all the comfort and pleasure of visiting friends. The area also possesses a number of campsites, which are well provided for and include washrooms, shops and information centres. These are great eco-friendly destinations for the green traveller.
France's Chamonix region is one of the most developed eco-tourist destinations in Europe and with its use of renewable energy, sustainable building materials and its co-ordinated public transport system; it represents responsible tourism in action.
Photo by flickr