About this time last year, the travel industry came to a screeching halt when COVID-19 cases began to pop up across the globe. Industry veterans accustomed to solving overtourism now needed to identify innovative ways to keep their companies afloat and save jobs.
During this travel pause, conversations continued to spark a strong desire to bring back sustainable tourism.
Let’s take a look at some of the companies that have committed to eco-friendly tourism for the future.
THE TRAVEL CORPORATION
The Treadright Foundation has always been an integral part of TTC’s brand and culture; however, their new “How We Tread Right (HWTR)” five-year sustainability strategy takes the environmental commitment to a new level.
The eleven goals of the HWTR program include initiatives to positively impact local people, communities, wildlife, and the planet. You will see goals to combat climate change, increase sustainable food production, consume responsibly, reduce overtourism, grow voluntourism programs, and prioritize animal welfare listed in the plan. By 2025, when TTC reaches these goals, we will all be traveling for the better.
United Airlines recently announced the forward-thinking Eco-Skies Alliance, an opportunity for corporate customers to join forces with the airline to decarbonize aviation. Several leading global corporations have already joined the program, allowing companies to purchase sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to move towards flying more responsibly.
HOTELS THAT CLEAN THE WORLD
Have you ever wondered what happens to that barely used bar of soap you left behind in your hotel room? If you’re staying at Hilton, Marriott, or Walt Disney Resorts, that sliver of soap isn’t simply getting trashed. These brands, among others, have partnered with the non-profit Clean the World to recycle and donate soaps, diverting large volumes of waste from landfills.
The program is quite simple. Housekeeping collects used soaps, putting them in dedicated bins, that are then shipped back to Clean the World where the recycling process begins. The bars are sterilized, ground up, remolded, and distributed to those in need across the globe. Hilton has pledged to divert all its used soaps from landfills by 2030. Something to think about when lathering up during your next hotel stay!
NATURAL HABITAT ADVENTURES
When wildlife encounters are your business, conservation needs to be top of mind. Natural Habitat Adventures has operated by this standard since opening its doors in 1985. Nat Hab’s mission has always been “conservation through exploration,” giving travelers an up-close view of nature and wildlife while also educating them on the most forward-thinking ways to protect our planet.
Through philanthropy, waste reduction, and its partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Nat Hab has clearly committed to sustainable travel. It’s most ambitious effort yet is the world’s first zero-waste adventure that took place in Yellowstone National Park in July of 2019. During this small group trip, Nat Hab travelers diverted 99% of all on-trip waste, enabling the total trash from the trip to fit into a single small container. What an incredible feat indeed!
If you travel with Rocky Mountaineer, you’ll immediately notice the sustainability efforts taken onboard, like eating with reusable tableware. This dinnerware is cleaned onboard in dishwashers that use 20% less water than those of the past. Last year, the luxury train company made a more ambitious pledge: to divert 90% of waste from landfills by 2030 and reduce its carbon emissions by exploring alternative fuel sources.
At first glance, it might seem that a single traveler can’t make a difference the way larger corporations can. But that’s a myth. Often, it’s the small steps that make the most beneficial impact on our planet. So, the next time you travel, refuse the straw, buy a Thermos, and forgo the single-use condiments – knowing that every little bit you do makes a big impact!
For additional resources on organizations doing amazing things, check out these links below.