The travel sector has something of a bad reputation when it comes to green issues. It’s responsible for a substantial chunk of overall emissions, with aviation faring particularly badly in terms of emissions per passenger mile. Aviation alone accounts for around 3.5% of the CO2 equivalent damage to the planet.
But all of this needn’t mean that we give up travel entirely. It’s possible to take sensible eco-conscious precautions when it comes to your overseas trips, while still retaining plenty of luxury. All that’s required is that we pick the right resorts and activities, that we help out local businesses and keep things sustainable, and that we pick a mode of transport that’s as non-polluting as possible.
These are concerns that, in the modern era, weigh heavily on the consciences of the average jet-setter. For this reason, demand for sustainable, luxury travel options has skyrocketed. Travel operators are taking every available opportunity to flaunt their green credentials.
Younger people, as you might expect, are the demographic for whom environmental concerns really matter. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, more than thirty per cent of 16-24-year-olds are ‘very worried’ about the impact of climate change.
Why is sustainability important in today’s travel industry?
If sustainability is important to consumers, then it follows that it will be important to the industry that relies on the spending of those consumers. If it’s mostly younger people who are worried, then this would suggest that the problem isn’t going away – and that travel operators should plan for a greener future.
Sustainable tourism should ideally involve minimal emissions during travel, and longer stays which reduce the need for return trips. We might even spread our travels over a longer trip, meaning that only short trips on a train, or even on foot, need be taken at any one leg.
The environmental impact of private jet travel
Private aviation is particularly damaging to the environment, since they carry few people, and yet impose many of the same environmental cost as full-size passenger craft. In terms of emissions, they’re not good value. Private jet hire in the UK is arguably the ultimate form of travel – but it’s rarely green.
But, on the other hand, many private jet operators are making technical innovations to help to correct this problem. Private air travellers might seek to offset their emissions by investing in special projects, like tree-planting and carbon capture. This will obviously raise the overall cost of travel.
In the future, we might see carbon-intensive practices like private aviation regulated by governments committed to net zero. If the technology that keeps the plane in the sky can be made greener, however, then this concern may well evaporate!