From Wanderlust to Conscious Exploration: The Rise of Sustainable Travel

Jul 16, 20237 min readShare on LinkedIn

From reducing environmental impact to supporting local communities, tourists seek ways to make a positive change, while satisfying their desire to travel the globe. This blog post explores how people are embracing sustainable travel today.


When the topic of travel sustainability comes up, some people start picturing Gretta Thunberg who sails to New York from Europe, drinking water only from reused bottles and dressed from head to toe in second-hand clothes. That’s not exactly about that. Being a sustainable traveler doesn’t necessarily mean introducing environmentally conscious practices in all aspects of life. Travelers can feel free to embrace sustainable living to the extent they feel comfortable. For example, a tourist may travel far away by plane but once they arrive at the destination use a bike to get around. 


In this article, the Btravel team would like to discuss sustainable traveling and explain how travel agents can capitalize on this trend. But before we jump right in, let’s define what exactly sustainable travel is. 


What is sustainable travel?



Sustainable travel refers to the type of traveling that addresses environmental, social, and economic impacts of a trip, while also considering tourists and host community’s needs. Sustainable travel practices can be anything from sharing a car with other visitors to reduce carbon footprint to cooperating with local travel agencies to boost the host country’s economy. 


The National Geographic survey suggests that the U.S. travelers express a strong support of sustainable tourism and are willing to take meaningful actions to minimize their negative impact on the environment and host communities. More specifically, 42% of American travelers want to prioritize sustainability in their trips.


Making travel environmentally sustainable 

If sustainable travel sounds like an oxymoron to you, it’s probably because you haven’t heard much about this movement. Let’s explore some of the key ways travelers adopt sustainable traveling today.


Where do conscious travelers go?


As a rule of thumb, the shorter the distance tourists need to travel, the lower their carbon footprint. According to recent research, air travel is responsible for 4% of global warming. Moreover, air traveling contributes to waste, air pollution, land use, greenhouse emissions, to name a few. Modern travelers, especially gen Z voyageurs, are preoccupied with such consequences and try to stay close to their home by giving preference to museums and exploring neighborhoods. 


If the temptation to see an Eiffel Tour or Colosseum is too strong to resist, they consider visiting popular cities during low seasons. To compensate for long travel distance, these travelers also stay longer and opt for environmentally friendly accommodations. Some tourists prefer paying their hard-earned Benjamin Franklins for traveling to disaster affected destinations. Volunteering in different environmental projects is one of the most effective ways to help communities recover more quickly. 


Once they’ve chosen the destination…


When travelers settle down on a specific destination, they usually start to think about accommodation options. Green travelers go for eco-friendly hotels that calculate and minimize the carbon footprint of their visitors. 


Being environmentally conscious doesn’t necessarily mean pouring millions into sustainable practices. Many small-scale businesses that have limited budgets also offer sustainable accommodations (think of a farm that relies on solar energy, sorts waste, and serves organic meat for dinner). 



Sustainable tourists may also look for eco-certifications to make sure that a business isn’t just greenwashing their clients but comply with environmental standards. Finding a hotel that has necessary certifications and meets all needs of such a traveler can be a high hill to climb on for a travel agent. To make your life easier, you can use a powerful booking engine, like Btravel Online. We have access to more than 300,000 accommodations, which can be filtered based on your client’s preferences, allowing you to quickly find the best option.


How do sustainable tourists get to their destinations?


Every green tourist is aware that transportation is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why they always consider ways to get to their destinations with a lighter footprint. 


The aviation industry is responsible for 5% of global greenhouse emissions. But there are times when it’s the only reasonable option to get to the place. In this case, most sustainable tourists give preference to short-distance trips when they want to have a vacation or change the scenery. 


You may be surprised but planes aren’t the least popular choice of sustainable tourists. The evidence shows that traveling by cruise ships is more detrimental to the environment than flying on a plane. Even the most efficient ships generate at least three times more carbon dioxide emissions than commercial flights. Moreover, cruise ships often use the most polluting type of fuel, which can impact the health of the crew, passengers, and the environment of the destinations they visit. 


By most accounts, trains remain one of the greenest options available. Whether they’re diesel-powered or electric, trains emit the lowest levels of harmful pollutants. Moreover, trains also provide an opportunity for slow travel – people can take a rest, read a book, and enjoy the scenic landscapes they pass by.




How are Greenpeace lovers getting around?



Once they arrive at their destination, green travelers often opt for a bike or walking tours instead of a car. If the distance is too long to bike, it’s not uncommon for them to consider car sharing or taking public transport. When sustainable voyagers decide to rent a car, they mostly prefer electric vehicles over petrol ones. 


The most enthusiastic eco-activists combine different experiences with environmental benefits, like forest clean-ups. Our booking platform offers a large number of different activities, including those related to environmental protection. We can also offer tailor-made packages that align with the unique needs of the pickiest sustainable traveler. 


Making travel socially and economically sustainable


When it comes to sustainable travel, it's crucial to keep in mind that the environment isn't the only thing to consider. Social and economic factors are just as important if you want to offer your clients a genuinely sustainable travel experience.


That's why it's crucial to offer activities and packages that support the local economy and culture, ensuring that the money spent by clients stays within the host country's borders. By doing this, you give your sustainability-minded customers an opportunity to protect local businesses and local people.


Use technology to help travelers become more sustainable

Modern adventurers are becoming more conscious about the impact of their trips and therefore want to find the greenest and most ethical ways to explore the globe. Travel agents should adapt to this change and be ready to offer sustainable options to their customers. 


If you want to stay ahead of this sustainable travel game, invest in a powerful booking engine, like Btravel Online. Our clients have access to a vast amount of travel options, from eco-friendly accommodation to tailor-made packages that would please the most passionate Gretta Thuberg followers. More than 18,000 activities, 6,000 rental stations, 600 airlines, and 300,000 accommodations will be at your fingertips to help you deliver unforgettable and truly sustainable experiences. 


Don’t miss out on this sustainable travel boat and leave us a note today.