52 Ways For Tourism Operators to Take Climate Action

According to a recent study in the Nature Climate Change Journal the travel sector accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions, which is four times higher than previous estimates. Unsurprisingly, the countries with the largest carbon footprint are also those with the largest and fastest growing tourism industries- the United States, China, and India.

So how can climate conscious tourism operators reduce their carbon footprint and support a transition to a green economy? Assembled by our friends at Tourism Declares, this blog features a list of 52 ways to take climate action for tourism operators. Those working in the tourism industry can combine these actions- big and small- to create a sustainable climate action plan.

To find out more about climate solutions in the tourism industry, please visit tourismdeclares.com, and find out how you can become a part of a global movement.

  1. Change to a 100% renewable energy tariff
  2. Generate your own electricity from renewable sources
  3. When replacing bulbs and electrical devices, use the most energy efficient.
  4. Provide rewards and incentives for low energy use by customers
  5. Provide information on local energy issues
  6. Minimize water use.
  1. Provide information for clients how to take a bus or train to reach destinations.
  2. Offer to book bus or train travel to reach destinations if the same service is offered for air travel
  3. Provide information about which airlines and routes are most efficient
  4. Use local public transport, buses and trains to transfer clients at the beginning and the end of the itinerary. 
  5. Reward clients who travel by public transport
  6. Supply free bikes
  7. Install an electric car charging point
  8. Only use FSC-certified or recycled paper
  9. Switch to the Ecosia Web Browser
  1. Facilitate team meetings and external meetings via conference call at every possible opportunity to reduce the need for physical travel
  2. Operate a remote working policy where possible.
  3. Join Climate Perks, a scheme for employers who wish to grant additional days to staff to enable them to travel on holiday overland, without ‘losing’ leave days for the travel time. 
  4. Turn down work that involves excessive flying, or seek alternative ways of working.
  5. Combine multiple projects, conferences and/or personal travel together into one trip so as to reduce the number of flights required.
  6. Support staff who wish to attend climate strikes, or whose children are striking. 
  1. Remove single-use plastics from your operations.
  2. Reduce waste towards zero.
  3. Use upcycled materials where possible.
  4. Minimize or avoid packaging wherever possible.
  5. Reuse as many materials as possible, or supply them to an organization that reuses or repurposes materials into new products
  6. Provide vegetarian and vegan meals, and give tips advice on where to eat plant based meals when travelling.
  7. Provide smaller portion sizes, significantly reducing food waste.
  8. Reuse and repurpose uneaten food according to the food waste hierarchy.
  9. Provide free clean drinking water and reusable bottles/cups to avoid use of disposable plastic bottles and cups.
  10. Shift to suppliers using renewable energy
  11. Develop trips that increasingly rely on walking, biking, hiking, kayaking etc that require no additional vehicle support.
  1. Design trips to visit and showcase local climate initiatives or showcase local climate issues.
  2. Document and record local stories relating to the climate crisis.
  3. Commit to focussing regular customer communications to the Climate Crisis.
  4. Facilitate clients being able to learn more about the issues facing the country they are exploring, and being able to give something back through the support of local charitable organizations and projects.
  5. Provide walking maps and advice on local sustainable enterprises, restaurants etc 
  6. Provide advice and tips on how to be a more climate friendly traveller when in destination.
  7. Include information about how to reduce emissions on your website.
  8. Share what you learn about addressing the climate crisis with your local community.
  9. Encourage and enable current suppliers to adopt climate friendly practices, and include such criteria when choosing new ones.  
  10. Provide information for guests on how to connect between both trips in the most sustainable way possible
  1. Support local campaigns against airport expansion
  2. Support campaigns for frequent flyer levies
  3. Support calls for ending unfair subsidies for aviation
  4. Support calls for ending aviation’s removal from fuel tax
  5. Support efforts to subsidize cleaner forms of transport
  6. Support efforts to develop clean aviation fuel
  7. Donate percentage of revenues to fund conservation and re-wilding projects
  8. Impose a voluntary CO2 tax on yourself per customer, and invest it in sustainable energy projects.
  9. Charge a climate levy to your guests to factor in the cost of their travel related emissions.
  10. For those who choose to purchase offsets for their residual emissions, only use Gold Standard credits, and always communicate them as a short term way of compensating for those emissions you have not yet been able to remove.

To find out more about climate solutions in the tourism industry, please visit tourismdeclares.com, and find out how you can become a part of a global movement.

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