Travel Advisors Promoting Sustainable Travel
I just returned from Ensemble Travel’s annual conference in Seattle.
The theme of this year’s conference was Travel with Purpose. Today, sustainable travel is not just a trendy buzz word, but rather a lifestyle. It is also a consideration many people have when making decisions about how, where, and why to travel. Popular tourism destinations around the world are experiencing the impact of overcrowding, and the displacement of locals. Excess carbon emissions are leading to global warming and irreversable environmental damage. But what can you, as travel advisors, do to help educate yourselves and your clients about the best sustainable tourism practices? I’m glad you asked!
Ensemble Travel Partners with Cool Effect
Offsetting their carbon footprint is one important way that travelers can contribute to reducing the impact that their travel has on the environment. In order to help travel advisor members provide a seamless way for their clients to accomplish this, Ensemble has partnered with non-profit Cool Effect. Through this partnership, Cool Effect will provide Ensemble members with educational tools and an easy-to-use, verifiable Travel Offset Tool, enabling their clients to offset their carbon footprint while traveling. By making a small contribution to Cool Effect (about $16 for a 5,000 mile flight), travelers will be supporting the Jacund Forest Reserve carbon reduction project, based in Brazil. The project protects carbon-sequestering rubber trees in the Amazon rainforest while providing jobs to the local community.
Travel Advisors to the Rescue
So what else can travel advisors do to help promote responsible travel and help preserve worldwide tourism destinations for future generations? Well, supporting travel companies who practice sustainable tourism practices is one way. Take some time to research what your favorite suppliers are doing in this regard. Make a list and support those that are taking real, measureable steps towards socially and enviromentally responsible travel.
Encourage your clients to become familiar with, and participate in sustainable tourism practices. Print out a list of sustainable tourism practices, and include it with your clients’ documents.
Below is a sample list with some suggestions:
• Take an empty stainless steel water bottle
• Bring a reusable bag/folding knapsack
• Travel with a stainless steel straw
• Take it easy on hotel resources – turn off lights and a/c, reuse towels
• Explore by bicycle
• Go on a walking tour
• Use public transit over taxis
• Carry your own cutlery
• Donate to offset your carbon footprint: www.cooleffect.org/content/travel-offset
• Pack lightly
If each one of us takes these small steps toward saving our planet, together we can make a difference and protect the integrity of the travel industry for generations to come.
Our very best wishes to all for a very healthy and joyous holiday season.