More and more of us are going to travel, but how many of us are going to make conscious decisions about where we put our money? How many of us would base our travel decisions on which companies were taking environmental stewardship seriously?
It is true that everything we do has an effect on the environment from flying and driving to vacationing and cruising. All forms of travel produce emissions and waste. Looking at the industry from all angles, I ask myself daily if there a middle ground between being an industrious company aiming for growth, a traveler wanting a winter escape and a human concerned for our planet. With every ticket I had a hand in selling, every flight I take and every resort I visit, I wonder where it all fits together.
To find out I took a look behind the scenes and to see who was really taking environmental stewardship seriously within the all inclusive market.
What I discovered is that behind the scenes and often without fanfare, many travel companies are actually putting in the effort to lessen their impact on the environment. As resorts get bigger and offer more rooms, restaurants, bars and pools while taking over larger beachfront real estate, their impact increases. Having worked in the hotel industry myself I understand fully the cycle of impact that comes from even one guest. From towels and laundry to room service and parking, it all adds up. It’s in this way I realize it’s a partnership between the resorts and the guests. It’s almost 2016 and as awareness of our fragile planet increases, it must be both of us, traveler and travel provider that come together to lessen our impact. At the bottom of this article I will provide tips how we can as guests reduce our impact during our visit.
I scoured all of the hoteliers websites and found that these were the companies with the most substantial programs:
Of particular note are a couple of properties in particular, the Secrets Huatuclo’s good work can be found here: Secrets Huatulco
Here is a video explaining the purpose of the Rainforest Alliance.
And El Dorado Resorts by Karisma makes a point to grow their own vegetables and herbs: El Dorado Resorts by Karisma
Here is a look at the major carriers in Canada and their policies towards the environment:
When I started at Escapes.ca I was struck by the commitment to the environment and projects like giving to the World Wildlife Fund initiated by the owners. That was almost 12 years ago and since then Escapes.ca has installed low water flow toilets and compost further separating our recycling. We also ask for less print editions of brochures from our suppliers and increasingly rely on digital media. Double eco-karma points awarded when you book one of these companies through Escapes.ca
I hope that the next stage of competition within the All-Inclusive market is how green each of us can go. After all, environmentalism is humanitarianism. We are all connected.
Ideas for travelling with less impact:
- Fly direct, multiple stops more emissions. (I commit now that all of my future elective and holiday travels will be direct)
- Take only what you think you will eat. Just like what Mom used to say: finish your dinner before going out to play. So often I see a lot of wasted food at the buffet from people who take platefuls and leave platefuls.
- Eat less Seafood: Ask if the seafood is sourced locally and ask where your Sea Bass came from. If it’s Chilean, say no.
- Use enviro friendly soaps, lotions and sunscreens from home. Bottles of shampoos and bars of soaps are often wasted from not being used to completion. Bring soap from home and take it home. Choose non chemical suntan lotions, ones with zinc oxide offer a natural protectant.
- Pack light: more weight=more emissions. No one will notice the same dress or shirt the second night out.
- Drink all the water in the water bottles provided: It’s so easy to have half used water bottles everywhere.
- When you leave the room, make sure all lights are off.
- If you do venture out shopping, try to buy from local merchants. On a trip to Hawaii, I recall a bus full of people who couldn’t wait to get to Wall Mart for shopping. A local merchant will appreciate the business and offer goods not shipped and trucked from the very place we departed from.
- Take the transfer bus that is offered by the tour operators rather than private transfers more people in more seats on one vehicle means less emission.
Click here to view a previous post about Climate Change.