2020 has definitely begun from an unstable start. There have been over 950 earthquakes in Puerto Rico this year and we are only sixteen days from the new year. But with today’s new age of climate change, how can we continue to travel without disturbing our balance and further harming our environment?
The Bahamas, which rely on tourism for $ 4.3 billion, which accounts for 47.8% of their GDP, are still recovering from Hurricane Dorian. As Australia’s forest fires have merged into a 1.5 million-acre fire, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on US leaders. stimulate tourism by downgrading the urgency of their travel warnings.
Just two days ago, the Trump administration took note of Prime Minister Morrison’s concerns about downgrading travel warnings to “Down Under”, which has now been set to “normal.” The nickname “Down Under” was born as a result of European explorers searching for a land beneath the Asian continent, commonly referred to as the Australian continent.
These are examples of how climate change interacts with tourism, a $ 8.27 trillion global industry with an annual growth rate of 2.9%. Ethical traders have a responsibility to present tourism and brands in the tourism industry in the context of changing climate reality. But there is no way to approach it and we will need some creative solutions.
Let’s start by not encouraging travel where it is harmful
First of all, marketers need to be careful about where they send tourists. Promoting holiday packages to the Australian Open, when Melbourne is surrounded by smoke, puts your customers at risk. Other trips could endanger the destination.
New cruise lines have been found last year to transport tourists to Antarctica while they are still there.
“Climate change is a major reason for the increased interest in Antarctic visits,” Cruise Travel Planner Mary Curry told the New York Times. “We don’t really know if the area will be as beautiful as it is now.”
According to the article, cruise reservations in Antarctica have increased 53% since 2015. However, cruises do not help the environmental situation. A day at sea produces as much as smoking in a million cars. Cruises dump toxic raw sewage into the high seas. They don’t do Antarctica or its wildlife any favors when it’s there.
Related: How does climate change affect your daily diet?
At other port destinations, cruises also squeeze local economies with bullying tactics that create dependency. While cruises are still growing in popularity, ecologically and socially conscious traders need to look for viable alternatives to driving tourism, where it helps rather than hurts.
Instead of Antarctica, why not promote daytime excursions to the Bahamas, where tourist money is needed to rebuild?
Instead of a cruise, why not take the ferry from Fort Lauderdale?
Reviewing the carbon footprint of each trip
Travel marketers are in a unique position to normalize the thought of a trip with its carbon footprint. A Responsible Travel study estimates a five-day trip from London to Western France to produce 183.5kg of CO2e. This is divided into food (77 kg), accommodation (26.5 kg) and transport (102 kg for a flight).
The flight for such a trip from London to Biarritz takes about five hours, gives or takes one hour depending on your time in Paris. It is comparable to a flight from New York to Los Angeles. By train, you can reach Biarritz in just over 7 hours. It will cost a few more hours – or provide you with some extra work and sleep time if you put it this way.
It’s a small time difference and saves your customer a few dollars: $ 121 (USD) for a train compared to $ 150 for a flight.
Most importantly, the train ride reduces the cost of transporting coal by half, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the trip by 51 kg (about 112 pounds) of CO2e.
This saves you about the amount of emissions that the average American citizen produces on a regular day.
Now let’s be real about something. Climate change is a much, much bigger problem than taking a train instead of an airplane. However, knowing that efficient rail travel effectively reduces the cost of a trip’s carbon dioxide emissions means that responsible travel traders will have to put whatever pressure the rail service has on flights.
It’s an easy sell. The trains are more spacious. You can get up and walk. They will not throw fuel at a school full of kids, as a Delta flight did this week in Los Angeles. There are many that you may like. Better marketing could encourage the development of cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient rail systems in the US. And systemic changes such as these have the power to fight climate change.
Tourism has certainly contributed its share to the climate change emergencies that we are now facing, and as the climate hits back, we need to rethink what it means to travel responsibly.
People are not going to stop traveling. Let’s make sure we send them to the right places and use the most viable means to get them there.