As the world slowly (but surely) reopens for travellers, we’re seeing more and more people booking trips. According to Tripadvisor’s Travel in 2022 report, about 71% of Americans say they are likely to travel for leisure this year. And luckily, many travelers plan their trips with the planet in mind.
A recent travel survey found that more than 87% of Americans think sustainable travel is either somewhat important or very important. (And that 87% is about 225 million people.) We also see younger generations stepping in when it comes to sustainable travel.
A 2020 survey found that Gen Z and Millennial travelers are more concerned about the importance of eco-friendly travel than other generations. Additionally, in March 2021, approximately 81% of travelers said they plan to stay in eco-friendly accommodation in 2022.
This attention in sustainable travel is desperately needed. Globally, transportation accounts for 15-20% of annual emissions. While it can be hard to see how travel can be considered sustainable, changes are being made that are transforming the industry for the better.
According to our research, air travel is the least sustainable form of transportation. Airplanes consume a lot of fuel, so it makes sense that they are serious polluters. Fortunately, some airlines are striving to achieve sustainability.
Virgin Atlantic has been taking environmentally friendly measures since 2008 and the airline aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. United Airlines is experimenting with plant-based fuel, which could be a game-changer on behalf of travel shows. . And Delta is committed to carbon neutrality, with a budget of more than $30 million to help offset 13 million metric tons of Delta emissions in 2020.
Booking the greenest flight possible is also becoming easier for travellers. Last year, Google Flights launched a feature that shows travelers the carbon emissions associated with each flight. And that’s not all Google does. Travelers who decide to take road trips can check out an eco-friendly navigation feature in Google Maps. You can also search for eco-certified hotels on Google Hotels.
When it comes to accommodation, it’s no secret that luxury hotels generate a significant amount of waste and consume a significant amount of energy. Not to mention that hotels have massive carbon and water footprints. So in 2018, the UN partnered with the hospitality industry to reduce global emissions from hotels.
Today, Airbnb committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the company’s global operations. And the world’s first zero-carbon hotel, room2, opened in Chiswick, west London, in December. The hotel is expected to be “89% more energy efficient than the typical UK hotel” per square metre.
Other hotels are adopting eco-friendly initiatives such as recycling programs, energy-efficient suites, and the use of local cuisine in their restaurants. Every little change adds up to a big difference.
In addition, the search for sustainable housing becomes easier. See EcoHotels, a hotel booking agency that plants a tree for every booking. The website verifies all listed hotels, so travelers know that each accommodation offers accredited eco-friendly options. VeggieHotels is another great resource for vegan and green accommodations: hotels, bed and breakfasts, motels, and wellness accommodations that keep everything as natural as possible.
From airlines to accommodations, there are several options to consider when it comes to booking an eco-friendly vacation. Fortunately, these eco-innovations will make the process easier.
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