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Embarking on change: accelerating climate action in tourism

In the ever-evolving world of travel, the urgency to step up climate action is like a rallying call, emphasising the need to make our tourism adventures more resilient in the face of environmental challenges.

Climate change significantly threatens the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities that make our travel experiences unforgettable. If we don’t take action, our beautiful alpine landscapes will be a memory, while the rising levels of the seas will flood coastal destinations or historic cities like Venice.

As we dig into the relationship between climate action and the tourism sector's resilience, we uncover a narrative of quick action, shared responsibility, and the potential for positive change.

Climate challenges: unveiling the hurdles

With the Earth's climate in flux, the tourism industry grapples with challenges. From unexpected floods and devastating fires to the slow transformation of our favourite landscapes, the impacts of climate change ripple through our travel plans.

Recognising that the resilience of the tourism sector is closely tied to the health of our planet's climate is not just essential; it's a wake-up call to safeguard the future of the industry and the captivating destinations travellers love.

According to a recent study by UNWTO in December 2019, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released from tourism is expected to increase by 25% by 2030 compared to 2016. This is even more than what was predicted. [1]

It's essential to step up efforts to tackle climate change in the tourism industry. By allocating resources to prevent and mitigate its impacts now, we can significantly reduce the need for extensive investments in the future to repair the consequences. 

The push for quick climate action

From innovative eco-friendly travel experiences to sustainable infrastructure, adopting these changes is not just about survival; it's about crafting a future where we can prosper in harmony with the environment, visiting breathtaking locations, while still preserving our planet for future generations.

When it comes to hotels, we may prioritise those that earn sustainable certifications to reduce their environmental footprint. There are several certifications to look for regarding this, such as the EU Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodations, a voluntary certification for products and services with reduced environmental impact. The EU Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodations focuses explicitly on sustainable practices in the hospitality sector [5].

Our Tip: If we are not in a certified hotel, there is still a lot we can do to minimise our impact. Look for drinkable water fountains abroad, and always carry a reusable bottle.

Also, why not opt for hotels that have implemented energy-efficient technologies, such as solar panels or energy-saving appliances? Let’s look for accommodations with water conservation measures, such as low-flow toilets and showers.

Sustainable accommodations often engage in waste reduction initiatives, recycling programs, and composting or prioritise locally sourced and organic materials for construction and provide eco-friendly amenities.

Our Tip: Never be afraid to inquire about the property's community involvement and commitment to social responsibility. When at buffets, let’s choose our portions responsibly, not waste food, and choose local and seasonal dishes.

Lastly, why not offset our carbon footprint when the holiday ends? No matter how sustainable our habits are, specific emissions will always be unavoidable. However, it is easy to compensate for the emissions from our travels, for example, by participating in clean-ups, reforestation programs, or simply donating to initiatives that support the environment.

Our tip: Always research associations and organisations before making donations to check how they will use the funds.

Building resilience through team effort

The tourism sector's resilience relies on teamwork beyond borders and industries. Fueled by a shared commitment to climate action, international cooperation is vital to tackling our global challenge. 

By nurturing a collective sense of responsibility, the tourism sector can navigate the challenges of climate change and emerge as a force for positive change on a global scale, for instance, tackling transportation issues and finding more sustainable alternatives or advocating for biodiversity conservation worldwide.

In the face of climate change, speeding up climate action in tourism isn't a choice; it's a must. Our global adventures depend on us acknowledging and dealing with the challenges of a changing climate. As we make tourism more sustainable, we secure the sector from problems and help save the unique places and cultures we love.

At lastminute.com, we advocate for conscientious travel practices and champion policies that steer the tourism sector toward a greener path. 

That’s the reason why we are collaborating with CHOOOSE, to allow compensating for CO2 emissions from flights and accommodations by donating a small amount to climate-protecting initiatives.

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