In recent years, the call for sustainable travel from industry and consumers alike has grown significantly, alongside the call for sustainability across all sectors. As we all navigate the evolving landscape of travel in 2024, the emphasis on responsible and sustainable tourism has become more critical than ever.
As individual travel businesses, many are constantly working to adapt to the rapid changes in this industry, and sustainable travel is no different. Fortunately, there are already many small steps that we as an industry and as individual businesses can take towards a more sustainable future with travel.
Minimise Unnecessary Air Travel
One of the simplest and most impactful ways to begin your journey towards selling sustainable travel is by choosing more eco-friendly modes of transportation. Opting for trains, buses, and other public transport whenever possible can significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to individual car travel or short-haul flights.
These methods of transport are also even more popular now than ever, with adventures conducted exclusively by sleeper train, and touring coach or car hire companies advertising their ventures into sustainable transport.
Additionally, adventure travel involving more natural environments, walking, and cycling has become a much larger market that travellers want to explore. Not only are more consumers looking for more authentic and exciting experiences, but these getaways minimize environmental impact while allowing for a deeper connection with the local culture and wildlife.
Choose Green Accommodations
Selecting accommodation suppliers that prioritise sustainable travel practices can make a big difference to all your travellers’ trips. This could be hotels, resorts, or homestays that implement energy-efficient systems, water conservation measures, and waste reduction methods. Certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in the US or Green Key around the world provide lists of recognised accommodations currently endeavouring towards eco-friendly practices.
Reduce Unnecessary Plastic Use
Single-use plastic still poses a significant threat to our environment and is one of the core areas both you and your travellers can sustain awareness of. Travellers can contribute to sustainable travel by carrying reusable water bottles, utensils, and bags. Making your consumers aware of refilling stations for water bottles at their destination or providing them with a bottle for their journey could be the only step needed to encourage your travellers to reduce their plastic waste. Choosing accommodation suppliers that limit plastic use or offer alternatives, such as biodegradable toiletries, is also a small step to encourage waste-free travel.
Support Local Communities
With the craving for authentic and adventure travel on the rise, working with local suppliers and supporting local communities is more incentivised than ever.
In 2024, prioritise supporting local businesses, artisans, and suppliers where you can and your consumers won’t be the only ones thanking you, the environment will be too. This not only fosters a deeper understanding of the destination’s culture in your travellers but also contributes directly to the livelihoods of the local population without extra, unnecessary steps.
This could be as simple as providing your travellers with a list of recommended, locally-owned restaurants, markets, and cultural experiences for their trip, providing for the community and reducing their waste and transport footprint through sustainable travel.
Responsible Wildlife Tourism
Responsible wildlife tourism is crucial for preserving biodiversity and protecting endangered species. Yet this is an area that many travellers, tourism providers, and businesses may not take into immediate consideration.
Avoiding activities that exploit animals or contribute to their mistreatment doesn’t have to be tricky, either. A little research to make sure you and your travellers choose ethical wildlife centres, sanctuaries, conservation projects, and national parks can go a long way without negatively impacting the trip. If anything, visiting centres that have the animal’s wellbeing in mind will provide a much more exciting experience with creatures that are safe and happy.
Educate and Advocate
As part of a growing community of sustainable travel businesses, sharing insight, knowledge, and core practices with your travellers can allow them to take some of the initiative that isn’t in your hands. Whether this is simply giving them the knowledge to choose more sustainable paths on their journey, or directing them to educational sites on reducing waste in travel, presenting yourself under the sustainable travel label will attract consumers ready to take part.
More travellers than ever are now pushing for more sustainable travel, but not all travellers know directly what this means. Whether they just want a flight-free journey to a short-haul destination, or they are making their own strides to reducing their carbon footprint, now is the time to ensure you are adopting more sustainable practices to support travel’s transition to a future that loves the environment instead of leaving our footprints on it.
As travel businesses and travellers ourselves, we possess the power to shape the future of travel. By prioritizing sustainability for our consumers, we can transform the way the world is experienced, ensuring that it remains a vibrant and beautiful place for generations to come.
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