Climate-friendly tourism – rethinking travel

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A new perspective

Climate-friendly tourism, is that even possible?

Heat waves, drought, floods, mudslides and storms. The climate crisis is already here.
And so are the first critical reports about tourism as an environmental offender.

Because the question is:
Can huge cruise ships in the Venice lagoon, helicopter sightseeing tours, weekend trips to New York, mega-concerts and fireworks at the top of mountains or the construction of chalet villages be climate-friendly at all?

What is climate-friendly tourism?

Here, the rule is probably: less is more!

Travelers can make a contribution with their choice of destination, the means of transportation to get there, the frequency and duration of trips, and the vacation activities they plan: Going to the nearby mountains instead of the faraway Caribbean, arriving by train instead of car, traveling less often but longer, choosing accommodation that pays attention to sustainability, etc.

On the supply side, it is important to meet these needs with suitable offers. This is because the desire to travel in a (more) environmentally conscious way is increasing. However, climate-friendly tourism also means that some offers are no longer up to date.

Woman with backpack reading an infoboard at a hiking trail - climate-friendly tourism

Nature tourism is climate-friendly tourism! No wonder that hiking is more popular than ever!

No greenwashing please!

Climate and environmentally conscious action is the order of the day.

Saving energy, reducing CO² emissions, prefering suppliers from the region, etc. Opportunities for this are already being used everywhere. And also eagerly marketed as climate-friendly tourism.
However, caution is called for. Because environmentally conscious guests recognize very quickly whether it is a “pseudo action”, i.e. greenwashing, or a credible measure.

One example:
“Airpower”, the largest air show in Europe, a 2-day event with hundreds of aircraft and almost 300,000 visitors took place in Zeltweg, Austria, in September 2022. Addressing climate and energy crises, the organizers point to their “green” measures:
Increasing public travel and suppliers from the region.

Are these positive and sufficient measures, i.e. climate-friendly tourism, or is this just greenwashing?

Rethinking for new opportunities

The climate crisis probably threatens the travel industry even more than inflation, war and energy shortages.
Therefore, tourism in the future will have to be truly climate-friendly tourism.
Not only to meet the expectations of guests, but to preserve our business base, intact nature.

Questioning the growth dogma

How can revenue be increased without constantly growing numbers of overnight stays?
There are moratoriums on new tourist buildings, subsidies and initiatives for quality instead of quantity.

No fear of change

Do we need to terminate certain offers and replace them by new ones?

For example, could an air show feature gliders, hot air balloons, paragliders and skydivers instead of kerosene-powered aircraft?
And provide a stage for innovations with alternative propulsion systems?
Probably not such a bad idea; after all, Formula 1 has already started with e-car races, too.

People watching a hot air ballon show

Hot air balloons can be spectacular too – for a climate-friendly tourism event

Questions upon questions. Only one thing is certain: We will need a whole new perspective!

 

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