Travel – one of best ways to learn and understand the world around us. And the number of people traveling abroad is increasing year after year: in 2000 there were 674 million international travellers, whereas in 2015 this number increased to 1.2 billion tourists traveling abroad – the size of India’s population.
The ever growing number of tourists embodies the pressing need for sustainable tourism. This is why the United Nations has proclaimed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IY2017). The goal of this year is to use tourism as a force for positive change with regards to environmental protection, social inclusion and economic equality.
How can tour operators contribute to sustainable tourism and travel?
The most environmentally harmful component of international tourism is air travel. To put this in perspective: one person’s economy-class return flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi causes as many CO2 emissions as a whole year in the life of an average Costa Rican.
Recognising the adverse environmental impacts of air travel, the Dutch tour operator and social enterprise Better Places decided to take action. Better Places helps their travellers to reduce emissions from travel by giving advice on most efficient flight choices and slow local transportation. Better Places has already taken action on all fronts to make their own offering more sustainable. Their responsible travel services have been officially certified by Travelife, an international management and certification program for travel organisations and accommodations that want sustainable business. All Better Places partners work according to Travelife ‘s criteria, including their local travel experts.
This is an excerpt from an article originally published by Global Initiative.