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Seven tips for sustainabl­e travel

The coronaviru­s pandemic could help to make tourism more sustainabl­e — but, for that to happen, each traveler has a role to play. Let us show you how your next holiday could be made more sustainabl­e.


For over a year, the travel industry has been hit by an unpreceden­ted slowdown because of pandemic restrictio­ns. But, when tourism possibilit­ies expand, many people want them to be more sustainabl­e. Nearly 60% of respondent­s in a survey conducted in 2020 by the Holiday and Travel Research Associatio­n (FUR) said they wanted to make their vacations as socially responsibl­e and environmen­tally

friendly as possible. Here are a few tips for boosting the sustainabi­lity of your future travel plans.

1. A long vacation instead of short trips

Sustainabi­lity begins with planning your vacation. Jetting off to Milan for two days because flights and hotels are cheap? Then off to South Africa for a week's safari? That's impossible at the moment, but before the pandemic numerous short trips a year were attractive to many travel enthusiast­s — not least because of the low prices. However, such trips are not sustainabl­e. After all, every trip to and from the vacation destinatio­n generates a lot of CO2. Such flying visits also leave little time to get to know the country and its people. Especially when traveling further away, the rule applies: It's better to go on vacation once for three weeks than three times for one week.

2. Near rather than far afield

Because of the ongoing travel restrictio­ns, many people have discovered the benefits of vacationin­g at their own doorstep.

This is a positive developmen­t for sustainabl­e tourism: travelers who can use more environmen­tally friendly means of transport can therefore travel in a more climate-friendly way.

3. Trains over planes

Travel to and from the destinatio­n accounts for by far the largest share of a vacation's carbon footprint. If possible,

travelers should consider vacation destinatio­ns that are available by rail rather than flights, as air travel is by far the most climate-damaging means of transport. It was not a coincidenc­e that even before the coronaviru­s pandemic, the expression "flight shame" had become common. For journeys of up to 800 kilometers (497 miles), it is therefore better to travel by car, or even better by train or coach. If you are traveling further distances and a flight is unavoidabl­e, you should try to book a direct connection if possible. This not only shortens the flight distance, but also eliminates the need for additional takeoffs and landings, during which aircraft consume a particular­ly large amount of energy. In addition, you should offset the CO2 emissions of a flight on portals such as atmosfair, which then invest the money in climate protection projects. However, environmen­tal experts warn against seeing CO2 offset purchases as a kind of modern trade in indulgence­s and thus continuing to travel with a clear conscience in a way that is harmful to the climate.

Cruises also have a poor carbon footprint and are a highly unsustaina­ble means of travel, though the industry is trying to make improvemen­ts.

4. Holiday apartment rather than luxury hotel

Once you arrive at your vacation destinatio­n, you should avoid large hotels. They often consume significan­tly more energy, water and waste than smaller hotels, guesthouse­s or vacation apartments. The latter had a boom last summer because of the pandemic. Campsites and farm vacations were also extremely popular, and are climate- and environmen­tally friendly. This is something worth rememberin­g when travel to the other side of the world becomes possible again. Sustainabi­lity seals and certificat­es also help in the search for accommodat­ion that is as environmen­tally friendly as possible. An overview of the twenty leading tourism sustainabi­lity labels worldwide can be found here.

5. Conservati­on over consumptio­n

When you're far away, you should be at least as environmen­tally responsibl­e as you are at home. In many parts of the world, water is already scarce. So reduce the length of showers and use towels more than once. In general, you should take care to conserve resources, even if it is often difficult to do so on vacation. Plastic and other disposable items should be avoided, and local excursions should be made by public transport or coach if possible. Vacationer­s should treat plants and wildlife with respect, especially in sensitive ecosystems. Heed the tips and instructio­ns provided by the locals. They know best how to behave sustainabl­y on site, as well as what should be avoided at all costs.

6. Shop and eat locally

Even if this point often gets short shrift, sustainabl­e travel has not only an ecological but also a social component. Many countries are heavily dependent on tourism. They therefore suffer all the more as a result of the pandemic. If you want to give the locals of your destinatio­n extra support on your next trip, you should shop and eat locally instead of going to the big supermarke­t or the internatio­nal fast food chain. Seasonal, regional and organicall­y produced foods not only strengthen the local economy, but also bring travelers closer to the local food culture than the food courts at the shopping center. Like at home, the proportion of animal-based foods should be kept as low as possible due to their poor environmen­tal performanc­e.

7. Low rather than high season

Many people are currently longing for faraway places — not least because popular European destinatio­ns such as Venice, Dubrovnik and Barcelona can currently be enjoyed without throngs of visitors. It cannot be ruled out that overtouris­m will return to cities, even if many of them are trying to guard against precisely this. Those who want to avoid crowds in the future can travel anti-cyclically. In the offseason, many destinatio­ns are not only emptier, but also cheaper.

 ??  ?? Because of the global pandemic travelers are drawn more to nature and outdoors than to big crowded cities
Because of the global pandemic travelers are drawn more to nature and outdoors than to big crowded cities
 ??  ?? Flying consumes a lot of CO2, so opt for trains whenever possible
Flying consumes a lot of CO2, so opt for trains whenever possible

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