How much have we missed traveling? A lot. During the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, 71% of travelers even said that they would rather go on vacation than find true love. Still, this forced shutdown has been very good for our planet, because, surprise: tourism pollutes too!
Our vacations contribute 5% to global greenhouse gas emissions, most of which can be attributed to the transportation that gets us from home to the destinations we visit. The rebound of the tourism market (after a slump of 88% and a loss of $1.1 trillion by 2020), must be an opportunity to rethink the most negative impacts of leisure travel.
How sustainable tourism works
Sustainable travel means taking into account the economic, social, and environmental impacts on the local community and the place visited. Eco-tourists need to evaluate numerous factors as they plan their next trip, trying to minimize their carbon footprint. The focus ranges from green infrastructure to respecting local traditions and choosing non-mass-market destinations.
Another very important point is transportation. The train is always preferable to the plane, even for long distances, and once you reach your destination, the most ecological choice is certainly the bike or scooter. Fortunately, more and more tourists are paying attention to green travel. ABTA‘s 2019 Travel Trends Report states that the number of travelers considering a company’s sustainability has increased from 24% to 45% over the past five years.
Why Bookdifferent is an ally in green travels
When it comes to hotels and resorts, companies like Book Different are the best allies, helping travelers choose accommodations based on sustainability credentials.
“Book Different was founded because we realized that the tourism industry was offering too much of everything. We don’t want to see more islands shut down due to pollution and overcrowding, instead,we want to help people choose a better way to travel. For us, that starts with choosing accommodations that do their part to take care of the environment, the people, and the communities they’re in.”
So sums up Lonneke de Kort, CEO of the Dutch company founded in 2012. Having aggregated the world’s largest database of eco-certified accommodations, Bookdifferent gives travelers the confidence to book the greenest option available. Moreover, by relying on secure data and certifications, the company helps tourists avoid falling into the trap of greenwashing.
Algorithms cannot be escaped, which is why Bookdifferent’s system has calculated the CO2 emissions of over 2 million hotels. Their mapping is based on four fundamental points: sustainable management; fair treatment of staff and the environment; respect for local traditions; and commitment to the surrounding nature. Basically, the foundations of sustainable tourism.
The traveler is left with options such as the world’s first vegan hotel suite at the London Hilton, or the design eco-camp in the middle of the mountains of Chile.
How do you become a responsible tourist?
Simple, by asking yourself questions. Getting information on how not to harm and indeed help the place you want to visit is the basis. In addition, it is important to choose lesser-known destinations, avoiding mainstream tourist spots and favoring secondary destinations, especially natural ones. Decongest is the keyword. This is because of the constant reports of destinations closing their doors to visitors to prevent further damage from the onslaught of tourism. From Maya Beach on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach, to the island of Boracay in the Philippines, the glut of tourism is beginning to devastate the fragile ecosystems of some of the most idyllic places on the planet.
On Bookdifferent’s website is a complete list of the least impactful destinations currently, you can see ithere.
Another nature-friendly move is to give up very small comforts, which however make a difference. Booking an eco-certified accommodation is the first step, but once you arrive, you could for example ask not to change the towels every day, avoiding the waste of considerable amounts of water.
Discovering the world in a fair and conscious way is more exciting. Ready to book?
Have a sustainable journey!
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