As travel agents, suppliers and wholesalers, we are at the forefront of the tourism industry, influencing an estimated 1.3 billion people who travel every year.
What we offer and book for travellers, how we market our products, itineraries and destinations, is having a direct impact on the environment, nature, wildlife and oceans.
The good news is we are in a position to make a difference, to how we book and sell travel and educate our clients on why it’s important to make ethical travel choices.
Here are my top 5 tips to share with your clients, to get them thinking and travelling sustainably on their next trip.
1. Choose a direct flight to save on carbon emissions, fuel and resources.
A flight from A to B is much better for the environment and uses less fuel, then one that goes from A to B to C.
Explain the benefits of carbon offsetting their flights at time of booking, which is a really simple way to give back to environmental projects, planting more trees to keep our air clean, renewable energy resources of solar or wind farming and local community projects.
2. Explain the importance of always carrying a refillable water bottle and to learn to say no to single-use plastics.
Let them know that more and more hotels, airports and public areas are offering water stations to refill your water bottle, making it easier for you to carry your own.
By saying no to plastic bottles, straws and bags will mean less demand and less supply, reducing plastic pollution on land and in our waterways and avoiding harm to wildlife.
3. When looking to buy a souvenir to take home, explain local markets and artisans are a great way of buying a handmade product and your funds will go directly to helping that person and their family.
Avoid any animal, wooden objects or mass produced items. Remember, it needs to clear local quarantine regulations.
4. Travel in the offseason is a great way to avoid crowds, queues, premium prices and congestion.
You may find better prices and value by choosing to travel before or after ‘high season’.
Also explain the need for tourism to return to destinations that have experienced natural disaster or events, where their visit can provide much-needed funds to help rebuild local communities, buildings and infrastructure.
5. Choose to eat locally grown plant-based meals once a day.
By choosing to go meat-free, you are directly helping to reduce global CO2 emissions from agriculture and farming animals and in some cases avoiding freight and transportation of meat being imported into the country
We all love to travel.
So let’s help our clients choose travel options that are good for the environment, give back to local communities and help contribute to reducing CO2 emissions.
Imagine the positive changes we can create for our environment and our precious planet with ethical travel choices.
Written by Dayana Brooke, Founder of The Sustainable Traveller, a travel agency providing sustainable travel trips and experiences. Dayana has 17 years booking travel and is an affiliate of Savenio and Virtuoso travel networks. She advocates for sustainable tourism and veganism for the future of our planet.