Follow These Green STEPS to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

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As reported by U.S. Travel: Environmental issues impact travel decisions. With more than 79 percent of U.S. adults considering themselves environmentally conscious and being increasingly aware of terms such as carbon footprint and global warming, travelers are beginning to make decisions based on sustainability criteria.  At the same time, while environmental responsibility is one of the prime factors influencing the selection of travel companies, American travelers continue to lack the willingness to pay extra to support environmentally friendly travel providers. (Source: travelhorizonsTM, July 2009)

Green initiatives … Eco-policies…  Environmentally friendly operations are a hot business topic across most industries these days – much of it driven by consumers. The travel industry is no different. The green travel movement has been growing for some time, moving from fringe audiences to mainstream (e.g., check out Huffington Post’s Green Travel page).

More than simply promoting recycling efforts (though those are good!), according to NTA strategic partner Sustainable Travel International (STI), green travel encompasses responsible travel practices that focus on economic, socio-cultural and environmental sustainability. STI sees green travel addressing six main factors:

  1. Modes of Transportation
  2. Offsets and environmental policy
  3. Dollars spent locally
  4. Environmental conservation
  5. Respect for Local Culture
  6. Natural resources use

If your tour and travel business is committed to sustainable travel (and with the strength of this trend, you should probably be strongly considering it) it’s time to create a sustainability policy, which STI advises should include your company’s social, economic and environmental responsibilities such as:

  • Using locally owned restaurants, accommodations, and guides
  • Buying equipment and supplies from companies that also support sustainability
  • Discussing and developing environmental standards with your affiliates
  • Establishing a supply chain (wherever you do business) that avoids the purchase of toxic products and favors the “greenest” options available
  • Supporting local conservation projects
  • Contributing to the creation or enhancement of local services like schools, medical facilities, reforestation programs, and water purification systems
  • Managing tourism development responsibly and sustainably

Last but not least, advises STI, have a way to implement your policy and make sure you have a monitoring system in place to ensure that you and your staff follow the policy.

For more specific help on the process, you can participate in STI’s STEP Program! (NTA members get a discount on joining, thanks to our strategic partnership!) This program is specifically designed to direct any travel and tourism business to thoughtfully integrate sustainable practices into its operations.

If you’d like to learn more about Sustainability Travel International, “Green Travel” or participating in the STEP program, visit STI’s website.

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  1. […] the last Do Big Things blog post, Follow These Green STEPS to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint, we discussed ways the travel industry is rapidly going green and what “steps” your business […]



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