More and more people are realising the immense benefits of taking a sustainable approach to holidays.
This isn't just about saving the planet - although of course that's very important! It's also about the way that adjusting our mindset as travellers - treading more gently on the world around us - leads to more meaningful connections with the people we meet and offers up all sorts of opportunities to learn from our experiences.
We love the land we live in
Inside us all here in Wales is a love for our outdoors that runs deep. Take our national anthem. In many ways it's a lovesong to our ancient mountains, deep valleys, rushing rivers and sea. Much of our poetry, our traditions - indeed our sense of identity - are steeped in and born from the ancient soil beneath our feet.
What this also means in practice is a passion for protecting our natural environment. In the Dyfi Biosphere, people are focussed on living and working in harmony with the uniquely beautiful eco-systems that surround them. Places like Anglesey, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Crickhowell have gone plastic-free, with many other towns working to do the same. Over 60 communities across the country are part of Refill Wales which aims to eliminate single use plastic bottles by providing free fresh water refills. And there are big ambitions for installing electric car charging points across the country, with over 300 added in 2020 alone.
You'll also find a surprising number of tourism initiatives from small to large that focus on conservation. So, if you want to visit a place where the natural world in all its beauty is celebrated and truly valued, Wales is a brilliant option.
You're part of our community
Part of the joy of travel with a more sustainable mindset is meeting new people and learning about their unique cultures. Our closeness to the land translates to a closeness to each other. Out in the wild, beautiful valleys and hills, life can be a little precarious at times. So people look out for each other, new faces are greeted with a warm welcome.
Woodland projects, independent shops, family-run farms, volunteer-run museums, local theatre groups, eco-lodges - on a holiday in Wales you can share in the daily lives of people and get a different perspective on life by doing so. It's life-affirming stuff and often you're helping to support local communities in the process.
Read more: Make your holiday footprint a little lighter
You really can get away from it all
A decade or so ago the fact that mobile coverage was next to non-existent in wilder places was considered a bad thing. Ironically, these days when you can get a signal almost anywhere, many people want to turn their phones off when they're on holiday.
Our cities are connected, buzzing metropolises, but you'll find plenty of places in Wales for a digital detox. Solar power, off grid, back to nature - you'll be amazed at how your spirit will be lifted and your cares will drift away without the constant demands of your gadgets.
Read more: Alternative places to stay in Wales
We're serious about sustainable development
It's easy to say all this but is it for real? The answer is absolutely! At high level there's strategy in place and funding to support it. It's called Welcome to Wales. Priorities for the Visitor Economy 2020 to 2025. Sustainable development is at its core. A guiding principle is that tourism in Wales isn't just about economic growth but also environmental sustainability, social and cultural enrichment and health benefits both for people who live and work here and people who come to visit.
On a regional level, organisations like the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority have sustainable tourism strategies backed up with training, advice and grants for local tourism businesses. And lots of local groups are working to make tourism more sustainable like the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group.
Read more: The race to zero waste
Much of what we offer is low impact
With a tourism sector that's focused on our epic outdoors, many of the things you do on holiday here are low impact. Large swathes of Wales are areas of outstanding natural beauty and carefully protected from development.
National Parks in Wales cover around 20% of the country. Cycle paths criss-cross Wales offering everything from gentle pedals to heart pumping descents. If you've time you can walk the whole length of our coastline without a break on the Wales Coast Way. Much of our food and drink is locally produced and increasingly it's organic too.
It could even change your life!
Travel broadens the mind so the saying goes and having the time to try new things and learn new skills is one of the delights of being on holiday. We’re not just talking learning to surf or trying a zipwire (though of course they're great fun!) but here in Wales we have yoga retreats and eco-breaks with opportunities to take part in crafting courses, learning about renewables and land management, foraging, bushcraft activities and cookery experiences, drumming, painting and drawing classes.
Maybe you're thinking about making some more radical changes to your lifestyle? A trip to Wales could be the inspiration and catalyst you're looking for!
Read more: Switch off with an eco-break in Wales