Making Better Choices for Better Travel: The Shift to Sustainable Travelling


Photo by Joshua Oluwagbemiga

In January 2023, a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed an increased demand for sustainable tourism amongst consumers, with 69% looking for sustainable options in their travels. Due to these developments, sustainable travel solutions are now at the forefront of the tourism industry. The following are the best initiatives tourism stakeholders can implement to help lower the industry’s carbon footprint while offering greener options for eco-minded travellers.

Offer sustainable travel packages

It can be challenging for tourists to plan individually for all their flights, hotels, and airport transfers, especially with sustainability in mind. Thus, finding a package that organises everything for travellers and guarantees sustainable travel is beneficial. After all, with all inclusive holidays, guests are privy to pre-determined activities, lodgings, dining, and transportation options. Additionally, they benefit from peace of mind knowing everything is in order, including the total cost of the holiday and all planned activities. Such packages can further the sustainability cause as they can loop in local hotels that also foster community initiatives rooted in sustainability.

Case in point, all inclusive hotels like the Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona, Spain and the Gloria Palace Hotel in Gran Canaria offer dining options using only ethically sourced local produce. Furthermore, apart from simply highlighting how eco-friendly each package inclusion is, you can assure guests by working with companies certified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. By doing so, sustainably-designed all inclusive packages can take the guesswork and worry away from a green traveller’s mind.

Consider mitigation strategies for sustainability

There are several mitigation strategies that the tourism industry can implement as sustainability measures. The first is conservation, which can start with consuming less energy and water and producing less waste. When you take responsibility by adequately managing natural resources, you protect the local ecosystem and simultaneously lower your utility bills. Incorporating these changes could be difficult. This is why critical mitigation strategies are needed. By being a part of the responsible management of natural resources, you reduce your environmental footprint and serve as a positive force for change in tourism.

Transportation is another aspect to consider. Unfortunately, transportation still produces a huge carbon footprint in tourism. Regarding this, you can utilise sustainable transportation methods in your area, like cycling, public transportation, and carpooling. You can opt for electric vehicles over combustion engines or encourage your guests to walk or cycle to their tour destinations. Further incentives can also include discounts or freebies when these sustainable means of transport are used.

Supporting local businesses directly involved in making tourism in your area unique is also essential. Data from European tour operator Exodus highlights how 70% of trips provide employment for the locals, supporting the economies of their destinations. Why not make “homegrown” the main principle of all your tourism activities? In doing so, the community will continue to support your endeavours, and you can be confident your business will be sustainable for decades.

Introduce sustainable travel options for marine biodiversity

The Mediterranean covers less than 1% of the world’s ocean surface but hosts 4% to 18% of its marine biodiversity. The sea is also considered a tourism hotspot, with more than 400 million international tourist arrivals in recent years. If things aren’t planned correctly, however, the long-term sustainability could be endangered. Tourism needs to decarbonise in all aspects related to oceans.

When offering ship cruises, ensure that good practices regarding waste disposal and the efficient use of all resources are observed. This includes promoting good tourism etiquette and sensitivity, especially in islands and protected areas. Avoid the overexploitation of oceans by offering alternatives to ocean tours and keeping tourists inland when possible. Try to educate travellers on the importance of preserving the health of our oceans and seas, along with concrete tips on how they can help do so. With these critical goals in place, we can better protect our waters and ensure their resilience for years.

Making systemic changes is not easy. But as the tourism sector continues to develop these approaches, the goal of sustainable travelling will soon be recognised. Be the change.

Sea Going Green is a sustainable tourism consultancy working with the tourism industry to integrate sustainability principles into management, planning and communications.

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 The following are the best initiatives tourism stakeholders can implement
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