10 tour operators go green: new initiatives to boost sustainability | green travel

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Sawday’s new overtourism caps

In a move designed to help counter overtourism, the accommodation provider Sawday’s announced that it would cap the number of homes it represents in some of the worst-hit areas. Certified B Corp, which includes the Sawday’s, Canopy & Stars and Paws & Stay brands, has identified 13 destinations in the UK and Europe experiencing overtourism. The initiative will effectively limit the company’s own ability to grow in these risky areas, which include the Isle of Skye, Snowdonia, St Ives and the Lake District in the UK, and European hotspots such as Venice and Barcelona.

The pioneering policy aims to help address issues that are destroying tourism’s honeypots, including constraints on infrastructure and services, second home ownership and unaffordable accommodation, overcrowding and damage to ecosystems. This means that in some regions it will have to stop representing a resort before it can add a new one.

And while Sawday’s recognizes that the impact of this policy may be small, it hopes to inspire other travel companies. “The constant desire for insatiable growth by some vacation operators, accommodation platforms and large chalet companies is unsustainable. Communities need viable visitor numbers in areas affected by overtourism,” said Sawday’s chief executive, Mike Bevens.

Skyscanner’s electric car rental filter

A charging station in Portugal, one of the most affordable places to hire electric cars. Photograph: Inna Finkova/Alamy

travel booking website Skyscanner launched an electric and hybrid car rental search filter this month, making it easier for travelers to book greener transport. With greater transparency on cost comparisons for electric car rental, coupled with a growing network of electric charging stations across Europe and the US, Skyscanner expects car rental demand greener increases. There are now more than 374,000 public charging stations in Europe. Skyscanner research has highlighted Portugal as one of the most affordable destinations to rent an electric car this summer. The new tool is based on Greener Choices Flight Filterwhich was launched in 2019 and helps travelers find flights that emit less CO2.

The first Kilimanjaro trek reserved for women

Giraffes and Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is a huge draw for high altitude trekkers. Photography: Ayzenstayn/Getty Images

In July, an Ireland-based high-altitude trekking company Edge of the Earth will lead the first all-female expedition to Kilimanjaro. The trip will employ 80 local women in Tanzania to work as guides, cooks and porters. It’s part of certified tour operator B Corp’s drive to increase the number of women it works with in countries like Peru, Kenya and India. After gaining experience as porters, it is hoped that more Tanzanian women can become Kilimanjaro guides – one of the region’s most lucrative jobs – in a male-dominated industry. In preparation for the summer expedition, Earth’s Edge has partnered with the Kilimanjaro porter assistance projecta non-profit group working for the ethical treatment of porters, to recruit, train and encourage more local women in the field.

Explore Clear on Carbon Campaign

Earlier this month, adventure travel specialist To explore unveiled one of the most comprehensive carbon measurement projects in the travel industry. For all of its 515 trips, the company has audited emissions from transport, accommodation, food, activities and operational activities and now lists the calculation of the overall carbon footprint for each tripall trip. Data gives consumers greater transparency about the environmental impact of their trip. Explore already compensates all its trips with ClimateCare and works with clear carbon calculations are in place, it intends to use the data to reduce emissions across the business by 50% by 2030. The UK Pure Adventure and wilderness group have also introduced carbon labelling; Pura Aventura goes even further by taking into account international flights.

Inghams Climate Action Plan

United Kingdom hotel maplaunch partner of Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism at the COP26 and umbrella for Inghams, Esprit Ski and Santa Lapland, named its first sustainability group leader during the pandemic, spurring a series of green policies. In March, he partnered with ClimateCare to support gold standard carbon offset projects, but in 2023 he has committed to auditing the footprint of all his holidays so that the process of reducing emissions can begin in earnest. It’s also now working with charity Protect our UK winters and teamed up with Eco-Ski, a skiwear company launched in 2020 to incentivize vacationers to repair, rent or buy used gear; Hotelplan customers benefit from a 15% discount on rentals.

Byway promotes flightless event travel

Taking advantage of the boom in event tourism, specialist in slow travel tour Byway launches flight-free travel planning service for international events. Its launch partner is run for love, a six-day charity run taking place in Croatia in May that raises funds to support victims of trafficking. Thanks to the Byway partnership, participants will have the possibility of reaching the starting point entirely by train. Founder Cat Jones, who launched Byway in 2020, sees the move as an expansion of providing flightless A-to-B travel across Europe, for both leisure and business travel. “Our mission is to make slow travel mainstream,” Jones says. “We’ve built this pretty sophisticated technology that allows us to build [flight-free] routes. It’s about rediscovering that sense of travel and discovery, rather than jumping from A to B.”

Exodus’ Nature First Pact

People trekking on a mountain slope
Mount Genzana in the central Apennines of Italy, one of the areas being reclaimed

Last October, an adventure travel agency Exodus has set a goal to become nature positive by 2024, building on its plan to halve carbon emissions by 2030 and provide flight-free options for a number of tours . The aim of the Nature First initiative is not only to reduce its impact on natural ecosystems, but to offset the impacts by proactively supporting regeneration. That works Reviving Europe to regenerate a minimum of 100m² of land for each person who books a trip. One of its biggest projects is in the Apennines, where Exodus has funded the regeneration of 400 hectares over the past year, with the potential to remove around 1,500 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year. A new journey on foot for 2022, Rewilding in the Italian Apennineswill allow customers to experience the project first hand.

Lovat Parks will eliminate the landfill

A poster for the Beach Toy Library at Lovat Parks
A poster for the Beach Toy Library at Lovat Parks

Founded in 2018, Lovat became the UK’s leading B Corp holiday park group, with nine bases in areas such as Cornwall, Suffolk and Norfolk. Projects range from beach toy libraries and food compost bins to free water refill stations and local sourcing for its cafes. Lovat also supports food banks near its holiday parks and this year launched an ambitious plan to reduce landfill waste by 90% by 2025, with a target of 25% for this year. As part of the commitment, it will remove all single-use plastic bottles from sale in on-site shops and cafes, which could prevent more than 1,700 bottles from going to landfill in its Cornish parks alone .

Intrepid’s 22 impact initiatives for 2022

Last January, when Intrepid recertified its B Corp status, it improved its score by almost 10%. It is revising its 50 best trips to cut domestic flights under 90 minutes as part of the company’s decarbonization plans. Intrepid says he has always put local communities at the heart of tours and operations in the country, and this is reflected in the 22 new visit experiences he added for 2022. Called “impact initiatives,” the experiments will directly benefit local people, help with nature and wildlife conservation, or preserve indigenous culture. They include electric rickshaw rides in Jaipur with women from low-income households, a chance to meet Vietnamese artisans making art from waste collected in Hạ Long Bay, and meals at a restaurant in the First Nations in British Columbia.

Tuscany Now & More champions sustainable villas

In response to a growing number of requests, the Italian villa company Tuscany now and more has launched a portfolio of sustainable villas, ranging from contemporary sunbeds to heritage farmhouses restored using sustainable materials. The villas can accommodate 6 to 14 people and feature renewable air cooling systems and sustainably heated and cleaned swimming pools. Highlights include Il Soldano near Florence, which is entirely solar-powered, has organic vegetable plots to loot and car charging stations. Podere Brogia restored farmhouse with a saltwater infinity pool, sits in a five-hectare organic vineyard on the edge of Chianti.

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