No industry can hide from the effects of climate change. We are all culpable and we all have to do our part to find solutions. Climate change is real, and travel trends suggest travellers are responding by favouring more sustainable modes of transportation. It’s up to the travel industry to listen and offer products, policies, and services that help their clientele make greener choices. That’s why we’re keeping an eye on 2019’s most sustainable travel trends. From making more conscious decisions to eliminating single-use plastic products—here are the trends that we find the most interesting to the hospitality, travel, and charter bus industry.
Consumers are making more conscious travel decisions
Over the last few years, there has been some amazing reporting about climate change in the world’s most reputable news outlets. As a result, travellers are more informed than ever before. They are far more aware of their travel’s impact, both social and environmental. Travellers are putting more forethought into how their trips impact the Earth and the people who live on it. From planning fewer flights to supporting brands that use sustainable packaging—33% of travellers are making choices that reduce their carbon footprints whenever possible, according to a 2017 study. One green choice that travellers are making is to travel by bus instead of in several cars. If you’re travelling in a group, charter a bus rather than having everyone drive their individual vehicles. You’ll save money and reduce the carbon cost of your trip.
“Off the beaten path” vacations are becoming more popular
As mentioned in our post about luxury travel trends, travellers of 2019 prefer experiences over souvenirs. Nature excursions are also highly sought-after. Coupled together, these two impulses mean travellers are seeking unique adventures down roads less travelled. As more negative news stories about overcrowding in natural destinations arise, the new trend for less-travelled paths can positively impact the environment.
Take for example the recent stories about overcrowding in the world’s most popular natural vacation destinations. People are flocking to these world wonders and bringing their garbage with them. Some of this overcrowding has even led to devastating human losses. The traveller who seeks adventure but also understands the social and environmental impact of their choices will gravitate towards destinations that don’t attract throngs of tourists.
One easy way to combat “large-scale” tourism is by seeking out locally-curated excursions. Luckily for travelers who are seeking a unique vacation, finding local guides is now easier than ever thanks to innovative companies like ViaHero. ViaHero will pair you with an expert from your destination who can show you around the best of what their area has to offer. Not only does this offer the opportunity for a unique travel experience, but it also helps take the pressure off of oft-visited travel spots as you are more likely to visit hidden treasures that only the locals know about.
Single-use plastic is out
Let’s take a look at the effects of overcrowding on Mount Everest. After this past season, which was reported as having a dramatic social and environmental impact, a volunteer collection crew picked up three metric tonnes of trash on Mount Everest. In order to combat future garbage pile up, Nepal is planning to ban plastic, single-use bottles. Mirroring this decision, more and more organizations are opting in favor of reusable materials in their establishments. They’re getting rid of plastic bags, water bottles, and styrofoam packaging, opting for paper straws and compostable materials.
As travellers are packing their bags, they are including reusable containers for everything from water to snacks to toiletries and shopping bags. Consider bringing that ethos to corporate event planning by organizing a volunteer clean up crew in your area as a team-building activity.
Extending the trend of banning single-use plastics to other types of waste, the hospitality industry is trying to reduce its food waste. Food waste and aggressive industrial farming are a huge burden on the planet. Major hotels and restaurant brands are taking steps to alleviate those problems. Initiatives can range from composting to donation to clever food use to ordering only organic products. Whatever strategies these companies are employing, they are all working to one common goal: reducing their negative impact on the world.
In keeping with the trend of finding unique experiences, travellers are gravitating towards smaller, local businesses in search of those special experiences. Rather than jetsetting to the hottest resort, vacationers are staying close to home, opting for something distinct or maybe even a little eccentric. The result is that more small businesses are receiving much needed attention and seeing their local economies grow. This is great news for regional tour operators. Read our post on how to grow your local tourism industry for tips on how you can help your neighbors thrive.
Another result of this trend is that people are taking shorter trips and therefore spending less time on the road and reducing their emissions!
Get around the green way
There are so many ways to decrease our carbon emissions, and since transportation is such a major contributor to climate change, it’s a great place to start. Many travellers are choosing green forms of transportation like bikes or their own feet, instead of automatically opting for taxis and Ubers. If you’re travelling in a big enough group to charter a bus, they are a fantastic option. A full charter bus means fewer cars on the road and less emissions in the air. If you want to travel further than is possible by bike or foot, rent a coach bus. Its large undercarriage can store bikes for use once you reach your destination. A bus obviously emits more than a bike, but it’s easier on the environment than a fleet of cars strapped with bike racks.
Where does the charter bus industry come in?
While charter buses can’t solve the effects of climate change alone, they are well positioned to help travellers make greener choices. At 21 passengers, a minibus gets 6-10 cars off the road. At 55 passengers, a full coach bus eliminates the need for 10 to 15 cars! Yes, a bus emits carbon, but it emits significantly less than a bunch of cars. As far as transporting large groups for several hours, the charter bus is the way to go. We’re seeing a big push towards green vacations, lime business travel, sage weddings, and chartreuse sports’ transportation. It’s up to us to support this push, to keep the momentum going, and to clean up this planet for future generations!