Can Travel Be More Sustainable?
Sustainable travel is a broad term that encompasses a range of travel options that are friendly to the environment. Sustainable travel is fast becoming a popular choice for travellers who are looking to minimize their carbon footprint when travelling. Travelling greener has also become a lot easier thanks to organisations such as the National Sustainable Travel Association ( NSTA ), the British charity Love Live Green and also the organization Sea Change. These three organisations work to promote sustainable travel both in the UK and internationally.
Sustainable travel, which can be associated with green travel, eco-tourism and sustainable urban travel, all supports the concept of eco-conscious travel and consciousness about how individual actions affect the environment. It encompasses the notion of minimizing the negative environmental impacts that travelling can have on the local environment by converting it from something negative to something positive for the community and individual travellers. There is a growing movement to create policies and laws that will affect travel in a way that is beneficial for the environment.
The three pillars of sustainability when travelling are energy efficiency, environmental impact and the use of eco facilities. Let’s take a look at each one of these individually. With eco facilities, this refers to hotel energy efficiency, electric car rental and public transport that uses renewable energy. These can be further improved by utilising low energy lights, energy-efficient appliances and solar energy.
Efficient travel and tourism is a growing industry in many countries. For many environmentalists, it is important to ensure that they are travelling to a sustainable destination, and sometimes this can even be the main criteria based on what the destination is chosen. This is done by ensuring that the hotels, airlines and other services used have made efforts to be more ecologically and economically friendly. For instance, the airline has announced that they will reduce the number of flights that result in greenhouse gases over the next five years.
An environmentalist may not think about the impact that their actions have on the tourism industry but the tourism industry can suffer as a result. A recent report showed that only 5% of hotels have taken steps to combat the negative environmental impacts of their operations. Of those that have, only half of them are using renewable energy sources and only 15% of them use energy-efficient appliances. Of those that are using efficient appliances, only a quarter are using them to the required levels.
making tourism more sustainable is not something that can be done in two years, but with calculated steps and effective planning, we can build a more eco-friendly industry. It is up to each of us to take note and act accordingly when planning our next holidays. Our choice can lead to a substantial increase in demand for eco-friendly accommodations and destinations in general.