How to spot authentic sustainable travel

Let me say this right off the bat – travel and tourism are going through a sustainability revolution. The pandemic, while disrupting the entire travel sector, has made the urgency of the transition to authentic, sustainable travel even more apparent. As a traveller, it’s not hard to spot companies and cities touting their green credentials. One Planet Journey applauds these initiatives while taking a position to advance the plot.

Venetian mask

What’s hiding behind the facade?

A growing market

Today’s savvy travellers and consumers with an eye on sustainability (incidentally, the biggest spenders) can spot the difference between authenticity and shallow facades. With more and more travellers expressing an interest in sustainable travel, the temptation to claim “green” is strong. However, faking it doesn’t work in the long run, especially in times of extreme transparency and customers with social media megaphones. Here are some telltale signs for destinations and tourism brands with an authentic agenda.

  • Honest and accurate communication – does the communication imply a deeper and up-to-date knowledge in relation to the topic? For example, claiming to be carbon neutral while using 100 % fossil fuels and only doing offsetting is tone-deaf, proof of a lack of understanding concerning the underlying issues.

  • A desire to celebrate achievements – instead of listing boring isolated facts on an obscure part of a corporate website, the credentials should be front and centre. A brand with an incredible story shouldn’t be afraid to showcase it proudly for everyone. Why else would anyone care or take it seriously? Positive examples inspire others to do even better. End the green muting.

  • Simplicity and context– let’s be honest, sustainability is not as sexy as images of white sand beaches or sangria parties by the pool. Communicated efforts need an engaging story to rally travellers and explain how it improves their experience. And most of all, how it impacts the local environment and community.

  • Validation – while it’s human nature to give the benefit of the doubt and not question every claim, a pre-emptive strategy from the brand is preferable. Reputable third-party validation goes a long way to cement the stated achievement. It can take the form of a certification or glowing reviews from previous travellers.

     

Push authentic sustainable travel forward

Authenticity means a consistent, transparent and passionate voice. With the shifting sands of climate, local circumstances and consumer demand, we as travellers have a vital role in pushing destinations and travel brands before us, accelerating the shift to sustainable travel and tourism. All you need to do is ask and choose wisely.

What is your favourite sustainable travel experience from your previous journeys? Share in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter and benefit from travel tips, interviews and inspirational examples of sustainable travel.

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