The current climate reality is driving the tourism sector to change, and both businesses and consumers are committed to more sustainable options.
When the holiday of our dreams arrives, we like to think of destinations that allow us to escape from work and routine, to rest and relax. The robust recovery of tourism this year is one of the economy's main drivers.
Tourism is an important source of income and jobs, and it can coexist with a society that values environmental responsibility. According to a recent study by Booking, 79% of travelers aim to make their travel more sustainable in the next year.
The UNWTO defines responsible tourism as one that considers the economic, social, and environmental impact on visitors, the industry, and host communities, both presently and in the future. The UNWTO has created the One Planet Vision strategy to encourage public administrations and businesses to achieve responsible tourism. This strategy includes six parameters: public health, social inclusion, biodiversity conservation, climate action, the circular economy, and governance and finance.
Air transport remains one of the most popular ways to travel, still behind 2019 (39 million flights). Still, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) already speaks of the "strength of the sector" by the signs of recovery it shows. This entity agreed in its 77th General Assembly that the 300 airlines from 120 countries that integrate it will reach zero emissions by 2050; that is, they commit to eliminating about 21 gigatons of CO2 emissions in the next three decades.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the solution to reduce aircraft emissions and promote a circular economy. Some companies have already started using SAF, which is derived from renewable sources and has the same energy value as conventional kerosene from biomass. These biofuels allow us to reuse resources that would otherwise go to waste. SAF can reduce aircraft emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional kerosene. The promotion of SAF is supported by the European Commission's "Fit for 55" package, including the "RefuelEU Aviation" initiative, which aims to promote aviation biofuels in the European Union. The goal is to reach 2% by 2025, 6% by 2030, and 70% by 2050.
But it's not just about transportation. The choice of accommodation can also contribute to sustainability. For discerning customers, specialized portals such as Booking have a label that only includes accommodations that meet a series of sustainability parameters, such as energy efficiency and water consumption, and focus on reducing their environmental impact while providing a memorable experience.
Sustainable travel philosophy suggests supporting local businesses such as restaurants, shops, and guides. This helps keep money in the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint by avoiding transportation services from other regions. Additionally, it supports the most vulnerable groups in the area by consuming local products with a lower carbon footprint.