A new study of the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from travelers on vacation revealed several key findings for both the tourism industry and consumers.
According to the data from Responsible Travel, the first-time study used the information to measure the carbon impacts of transport, accommodation energy and food across a selection of popular travel options.
As a result, Responsible Travel is calling on the tourism industry to design vacations with reduced emissions by offering more plant-based choices, minimizing food waste, focusing on local produce and switching to renewable power.
“We know we have to fly less, but that’s not the only significant contributor to the carbon emissions of your holiday,” Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis said in a statement. “Your food is a significant, and sometimes the single biggest source of CO2 emissions from your holiday. To get to net zero carbon 2050 we’ll need to fly less and change what we eat. This is a small pilot study, but it starts that conversation.”
“The significance of the broader impacts we see here are such that as consumers, we have to change how we approach travel as a whole – and as an industry, we have to help facilitate that,” Francis continued. “We need to see a radical review of tourism in favor of lower-carbon holidays – but there are robust and workable solutions here that can be beneficial to both consumers and companies themselves.”
One of the messages spread by Responsible Travel in the past was “fly less and stay longer,” which is a stance strengthened by the findings of the study. The data suggests the gap between transportation and other emissions sources begins to close when a traveler increases their length of stay.
The study also found that transportation will usually be the primary emissions contributor of any vacation, climate-friendly choices can reduce our carbon footprint and the sustainable accommodations surveyed emitted up to four times less carbon than many four-star hotel chains.
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