Why is Sustainable Travel Important?

28th October 2019

Sustainability is a prevalent topic on everyone’s lips. We are all becoming aware of the importance of being more environmentally conscious in an effort to care for the planet and reduce the effects of global warming. The environmental impact caused by the tourism industry has been highlighted in recent years. In an effort to meet consumer demands and reach climate goals, parts of the industry have made great leaps towards an eco-friendlier ethos. At Balance Holidays, we are passionate about the environment and rigorously assess all of our destinations to ensure the highest levels of environmental responsibility. In this article, we discuss the importance of sustainable travel and propose ways in which you can ensure a more caring approach to travel.

What is Sustainable Travel?

Sustainable travel is also known within the industry as eco-travel or eco-tourism. At the core of the awareness is lowering the carbon footprint associated to the overall holiday, including travel, energy and water. To guarantee the industry is able to continue long term, attention must be paid to ensuring the natural and cultural environments are not harmed. Ideally, these environments should be benefiting from visitors.

Why is Sustainable Travel Important?

There are several reasons why the industry is looking towards a more sustainable future. First and foremost, there is significant evidence to suggest we are heading towards a global climate crisis. Immediate action is required to reduce the loss of eco-systems and prevent temperatures and sea levels rising. It is essential to consider that the tourism industry is responsible for a significant percentage of harmful emissions and environmental impact. In an innovative paper by the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, it suggests that the tourism industry contributes up to 8% of global emissions. While much of the percentage is made up of travel methods, such as flying, the report also considers the effects of everything associated with holidays. In an ambitious move, the research covered an extensive range of factors, including everything from water used by laundry services in hotels to cheap souvenirs and trinkets. The report finds that wealthy countries are the biggest culprit, but the concerning factor is the overall growth rate of the industry. The global tourism industry has been growing at an annual rate of around 5 per cent, which outpaces the growth of international trade. Such growth requires immediate adjustments to ensure low impact tourism.

Secondly, the industry must adapt to meet demand. In the 2019 sustainable travel report by Booking.com, the findings show that 72% of travellers believe that we must act immediately and begin to make sustainable travel choices. Furthermore, of the people surveyed, 73% did not know how to or could not afford measures that improved the sustainability of their travel. This can be seen as evidence that the industry needs to make swift changes in order to meet the demands of its customers.

A woodland with the sun shining through the trees.

What Can I do to Travel More Sustainably?

There are certainly ways in which the industry is adapting to such changes which can allow you to become a more eco-conscious traveller. Eco-tourism is on the rise, and it is now easier than ever to discover environmentally friendly retreats and hotels. The important thing to remember when deciding your travel plans is to do your research. Many credible airlines and hotels now have an environmental policy they should be able to share with you. You can also look out for credible certification bodies, who put companies through a rigorous process to ensure they are meeting an environmental standard. Balance Holidays is certified by Positive Luxury, an independent body who have created a community of brands who care about the future of the planet. They award their Butterfly Mark to brands that show a commitment to sustainability. You can also reduce plastic use by packing an eco-friendly travel bag.

A blue parrot.
Our eco-friendly retreats are a wonderful example of the care and attention we pay to ensure sustainability within our brand. Everything is considered from the hotels recycling policy, to where they source their food. For more information, please browse the eco-friendly and sustainability retreats page of our website.