The christmas holiday season is getting closer, and with it comes the choice of the vacation destination. Whether you are heading to the beach, to the mountains or sightseeing, the impact on the environment varies and can be significant.
Obvious points like the form of transportation you choose to get to the destination should be taken into account to assess this environmental impact. Other tricky points, like the place of stay, the activities and even the souvenirs you buy can be equally important.
First the transportation, WWF has put in place a travel helper (here) to enable travelers to know the environmental impact of their transportation means and act on it. It comes as no surprise that the most eco-friendly mean of transport is the train, which is ten-fold less polluting than any other combination of car and plane transportation.
The travel helper shows something that is less evident to most of us, indeed, traveling by car, individually, is approximately 50% more polluting than taking the plane. Factors like traveling speed, car make, and driving behavior may have an impact on this 50% factor, but the measure is averaged on a statistically representative population of cars and drivers.
Second, the place of stay has a significant importance as well. We have all seen the small cards in hotels telling us that, out of environmental concerns, the hotel will not wash our towels every day. Whether this is an authentic, environment-friendly stand from the hotel or they are doing it for some economic reasons, it is a good first step.
Nevertheless, it does not explain the broader context of the hotel, for instance, is the overall water consumption optimized when counting the pools, fountains and other water games in its premises? Is it correctly sized inline with the number of guests? Is it serving locally grown food or imported goods? and so on. Many questions remain unanswered.
The third points are the gifts travelers carry home from vacations. It is not unusual to go say to a country in North America and buy a souvenir that is made in China ! A usual aberration of the globalization era, but very frequent in real life!
Through our activities, we strive to bring solutions to the above-mentioned issues to help travelers better cope with environmental challenges to help sustain the beautiful travel destinations.
Get in touch with the Guidexplorer team to share your experience and provide tips to help reduce the environmental footprint of fellow travelers.