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Sustainable Travel News 2022: Good News You Need to Hear

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From carbon off-setting to conservation, the travel industry is going green

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Sustainable travel‘ doesn’t have to be self-contradicting: many travel providers and hotels across the globe are fighting the good fight by adapting their businesses to be greener, often in unique and exciting ways. If you are a keen sustainable travel buff, feel guilty about your carbon footprint, or picture yourself a sustainable tourist already, here’s all the sustainable travel news you need to alleviate your climate anxiety – at least a little bit.

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

Sustainable Travel News: Good News You Need to Know

Greece Launches A Dedicated Sustainable Tourism Platform

October 2022: Sustainable travel is more important than ever, but it can be hard to know where to start when planning a sustainable trip. That’s why the Greek National Tourism Organisation has launched Sustainable Greece, a platform dedicated to showcasing the nation’s green strategies, encouraging visitors to travel sustainably, and inspiring other nations to follow their lead. Read all about it here.

The First Ever Flight-Free Business Travel Planner

September 2022: Did you know that business travel accounts for 30 per cent of Europe’s air travel carbon cost? In response, flight-free travel company Byway have launched a new business travel planning service to assist conscious business travellers to reduce their carbon emissions as well as improve their work-life balance, utilizing new hybrid working models. For example, with WiFi available on many trains now, employees to clock-in en route.

Cat Jones, Byway founder and CEO, said: ‘Our mission is to make slow travel mainstream, and that means every aspect of travel, including business. We’ve already had many businesses interested in rolling out our business offering and are thrilled to offer it more widely. The best way to reduce carbon emissions is to make low carbon activities more enjoyable than carbon-intensive ones – slowing business travel down is climate-friendly and a decent employee perk.’

Milestone for the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project

turtle rehabilitation

August 2022: Earlier this year, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation – which releases rehabilitated turtles back into their natural habitat after treatment at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Aquarium – reached 2,050 turtles aided by the project. This figure was hit on World Sea Turtle Day in June, when 21 Hawksbill turtles and five young Green turtles were released from Jumeirah Al Naseem beach. After initial treatment at the Aquarium, the turtles are nurtured at the Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary at Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel, where guests can meet the turtles and assist with feeding during their recovery process. The rescue centre also raises awareness of oceanic ecosystems and promotes research into turtle preservation.

All Aboard to Stockholm

August 2022: Looking for a Scandinavian escape? A brand-new EuroNight sleeper train is offering a no fly, sustainable travel option from London to Stockholm in less than 24 hours. Expected to commence service from September 2022, the trains will be powered by renewable energy with Swedish operator SJ only using hydro- and wind-powered electricity.

Make the most of slow travel with Slow Adventure, whose Autumnal Foraging Adventure will see guests unplug in the Swedish wilderness, helping chefs prepare meals with fresh and foraged ingredients in between hiking, biking and canoeing through the spectacular autumnal scenery. slow-adventure.com

Join The Flock: Sustainable Travel Made Easy

Promotional image for Flockeo

July 2022: For many of us, our travel plans are increasingly motivated by a desire to reduce our carbon footprint and to look after the destination we are visiting and its local community. According to Booking.com’s latest sustainability report, 83 per cent of global travellers think that sustainable travel is vital. But with the rise of eco-tourism becoming such big business for hotels, tour operators and tourist attractions, sometimes telling the green from the ‘greenwash’ is easier said than done. Enter Flockeo. The creation of French social enterprise Murmuration, this newly launched community platform makes things a breeze for travellers to calculate their environmental footprint, get in touch with sustainable tourism professionals, and choose eco destinations via an interactive map that combines satellite and statistical data. The map itself provides lots of info about each region – from the ecosystem potential to the risks related to water and urbanisation – and to boot, this data provides a clear picture of the challenges and opportunities that exist in certain areas while also monitoring progress over time to ensure that sustainable tourism practices are actually having the desired effect. By Lauren Ho. flockeo.com

Swisstainability

Swisstainability

July 2022: With the ambition to become the most eco destination in the world, Switzerland is taking things to the next level with its new sustainability strategy, Swisstainable. It includes a number of initiatives such as traffic-free destinations (the country already has 11 car-free resorts), promoting green accommodation, and – in boasting the highest spending per capita on organic products in the world – championing conscious consumption. Elsewhere, the country has a number of Swisstainable assets too, such as Europe’s first house to be heated using hydroelectric power, which is located above the Grimsel glacier. By Lauren Ho. myswitzerland.com

Till The (Luxury) Coast is Clear – Beach Cleanup Collaboration

A boat filled with plastic pollution on the left; a stack of plastic pollution on the right

July 2022: The south Devon community interest company, Till the Coast is Clear, has partnered with accommodation specialist Luxury Coastal to remove plastic pollution from the south Devon sea, shore and moor.

Till the Coast is Clear, spearheaded by Gary Joliffe, works to inspire positive action regarding environmental pollution. Joliffe grew up with a passion for nature and the outdoors, and moved to tackle the growing pollution problem in Devon in 2017 after witnessing first-hand the devastation to local environments by waste and rubbish. 

Having given up his career in the travel industry to embark on a full-time mission to clean up the Devon waterways, what began as just Joliffe in his kayak has become a full-scale operation using a marine recycled boat and a fleet of kayaks to collect pollution. Over 12 tons of plastic and waste has been removed to date, with all recovered materials recycled.

‘What has been most surprising and inspiring is the amount of effort and energy folk are willing to pour into a problem that at the moment, has no end in sight,’ Joliffe says. ‘For every piece that’s removed, several are added. But the magic is in the cumulative effect of small improvements made often, and we now know that the South Devon Coast has less plastic on it than at any time in the last 20 years, and we aim to keep it that way.’

Luxury Coastal – also Devon-based – are now partnered with Till the Coast is Clear, offering both volunteers and sponsors to the cause.

Pollinator Paradise: Blenheim Palace is Rewilding for the Bees

A postcard overlaying an image showing the future of Blenheim Wildflowers

July 2022: It’s not just the Tower of London getting a floral face-lift this summer: Blenheim Palace have collaborated with Rowse Honey to plant a plethora of wildflowers – and visitors are welcome to enjoy the bee-autiful display!

Over 50 acres of pollinator-rich meadows and 124 miles of hedgerow in and around the estate have been planted with millions of wildflower seeds – with over 70 native flower species – to create a sustainable nectar source and new habitats for wild bees and other local wildlife.

There are future plans at Blenheim Palace to create wildflower meadows the equivalent size of five Wembley Stadiums. It forms part of Blenheim Estate’s wider land strategy, as well as Rowse’s Hives for Lives programme.

Read more: Blenheim Palace is Rewilding for the Bees

Oceandiva: The River Thames’ First Carbon-Neutral Events Venue

An artist impression of an Oceandiva boat, with Tower Bridge in the background

July 2022: If you’ve ever hopped on a Thames Clippers boat – or, more recently, an Uber Boat – as part of your commute, you might find it difficult to romanticise the capital’s biggest river. However, various river tour boats exist – targeted at tourists looking to see London from a new angle – alongside other water-based experiences, like boat parties bringing a splash of nightlife to the river. Enter: Oceandiva.

This new events venue – launching in Autumn 2022 – will be the River Thames’ first carbon-neutral events venue, boasting capacity for 500 diners or 1,500 reception guests across three decks. Utilising the latest marine technology, the engines are noise-reducing – to protect Thames wildlife – and powered by renewable energy: shore-based green electricity charging points, onboard solar panels, and a back-up biofuel generator.

Oceandiva London has been installing electrical charging points along the river, from London Bridge to Greenwich, to encourage other Thames vessels to go electric, reducing the number of cars on the road and bringing an electric highway to the Thames. As a result, Thames Clippers is following suit, with its first-ever hybrid high-speed passenger boats arriving on the Thames this winter. 

Hotels Making Sustainable Moves

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The Royal Suite at Ngorongoro Lodge, decorated with local crafts and neutral tones

Meliá Hotels International Commits To Community & Sustainability With New 2023 Opening

October 2022

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is a rare conservation area and UNESCO World Heritage Site, where tourism must adhere to certain restrictions that respect the natural environment and local community. The forthcoming Meliá Collection Hotel, Ngorongoro Lodge – launching in early 2023 – will see a massive renovation of the existing lodge (which has been a feature of the nature reserve for some time), yet the building will be kept in line with authenticity and integration into the surrounding environment. 

The renovation project is paying special attention to protecting the environment via the integration and protection of indigenous flora and fauna, energy efficiency and renewable electricity generation, and waste management. However, Ngorongoro Lodge’s community uplifting is where the project shines: local Maasai heritage and culture will be integrated into the lodge, with jobs offered to the local Maasai tribespeople, indigenous decorations throughout made by local craftspeople and artisans, as well as the promotion of products created locally to be sold for additional community profits. melia.com

Lepogo Lapalala

Lepogo Lodges Launches Their Carbon Offsetting Programme at Noka Camp, South Africa

September 2022

One of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit safari lodges, Lepogo Lodge recently added to its eco-credentials by teaming up with local and global charities to offset guests’ carbon footprint. Calculating the carbon emissions of each guest’s journey – from the time they leave their home to the moment they return from their trip – Lepogo Lodge calculates the monetary value of these emissions and invests into charitable projects. 

Recent beneficiaries include: the Community Stove Project, working in collaboration with Lapalala Wilderness School’s Outreach Programme to provide local communities with high efficiency stoves that reduce wood use in each household by 2.5 tons per year; the South Africa Forest Trust, which brings landowners, institutions, companies and individuals together to replant and extend forest ecosystems; Stand for Trees, which has 16 conservation projects across the globe to support the regeneration of forest systems. lepogolodges.com

Priyanka Naik pop up at W Maldives

Go W-EGAN at W Maldives with Celebrity Chef Priyanka Naik

August 2022

From October 2022, W Maldives are welcoming a pop-up menu from celebrity sustainable and vegan chef Priyanka Naik to their food offerings. For one year, guests can enjoy her delicious bespoke menu, showcasing the best of sustainable cuisine.

Additionally, to celebrate the collaboration, Marriot Bonvoy Moments have opened bidding on an exclusive experience, which features a four-night stay at W Maldives, a boat trip to a farm on a local island to select fresh ingredients, a Maldivian cultural walk, lunch at the resort’s Maldivian dining venue, KADA, a trip on the luxury ESCAPE yacht, and a private vegan picnic hosted by Chef Priyanka on the castaway island, Gaathafushi. Bidding closes 3 October; marriottbonvoy.com.

Terre Blanche

Terre Blanche: Starting From A Young Age

August 2022

Located in the heart of Provence Côte d’Azur, within 750 acres of unspoiled forest, five-star Terre Blanche hotel continues to protect its flora and fauna, as well as invite younger generations to actively contribute to improving the planet.

Dedicated to delivering sustainable solutions that work for both nature and guests, the hotel was designed to allow wildlife to flourish. It is now home to over 175 plant species, 54 bird, 41 insect and 20 mammal species, and 2022 has seen a plethora of new initiatives that build on existing protections, including:

Flora conversation: To be completed in 2023, Terre Blanche is replacing the grass on its golf courses (which take up approximately 30 hectares) with Bermuda Grass Riviera, which requires 50 per cent less water.

Enhanced gastronomic ethos: This year, under the vision of Executive Chef Christophe Schmitt, Terre Blanche’s restaurants have been overhauled to serve seasonal and local produce; the resort also now has its very own herb garden.

Eco-experiences: Terre Blanche offer an array of eco-experiences, inviting guests to be immersed in local culture and slow travel, with bespoke bike excursions and culinary experiences on offer.

Education: Younger guests at the Kids Club can attend apiculture workshops to discover the lifecycle of bees and their role in the ecosystem, with the aim of increasing awareness of the fragility of the natural environment. Guests can also attend a honey tasting and look at beehives through plexiglass. terre-blanche.com

Phāea Resorts_Blue Palace_The Haven Breakfast

Phāea Resorts: Committing to the Environment

August 2022

Phāea Resorts’ two sister properties in Crete – Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Collection Resort and Cretan Malia Park, a Member of Design Hotels – are going from sustainable strength to strength. Ranging from energy saving technology updates to community and ecologically driven projects, both properties have been rigorously working to initiate and develop new programmes that promise a more sustainable business and commitment to the community (championing next-generation Greek designers and sourcing ingredients locally, amongst other things), whilst also striving to appeal to international guests who are seeking responsible travel experiences. 

On a mission to achieve total circularity, Phāea Resorts have invested in open loop water structures and almost entirely renewable energy systems, including natural temperature regulation through solar control double glazing and water-saving living roofs. Making the most of Crete’s golden sunshine, the solar panels at both properties estimate that the hotel saves around 3,000 Wh every year. 

Going the extra mile in boosting Biodiversity, Phāea Resorts has implemented the ‘Phāea Farmers’ program, which trains local farmers to work sustainably, learning how to grow in a way that replenishes the environment. There’s also the the ‘Phāea Plan Bee’ initiative to nurture adami honeybees across nine hives. phaearesorts.com

Image: The Haven Breakfast at Blue Palace

A bedroom at Villa Le Blanc in Menorca

Villa Le Blanc Gran Meliá: Menorca’s First Carbon Neutral Hotel?

July 2022

In the continued fight to decarbonise the hotel industry, luxury hotel group Meliá Hotels International have renovated Villa Le Blanc Gran Meliá in Menorca, Spain, pitting the branch to be their first carbon neutral hotel. 

The renovation – which reduced the hotel’s emissions by 87 per cent, installed an energy-efficient management system, reduced water consumption, and adjusted for the use of renewable energy – won the Rethink Hotel Award earlier this year

‘Villa Le Blanc is a dream come true for our company, because a project like this allows us to move forward towards hotel decarbonisation,’ says Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of Meliá. ‘It is also in such a special place as the Biosphere Reserve of Menorca, making it one of the most tangible results of our commitment to a hotel model based on excellence, responsibility and sustainability.’

Villa Le Blanc Gran Meliá is set to open to guests this summer.

Seahorse products on sale at Marbella Beach Club

Seahorse Conservation at The Marbella Club

July 2022

Occupying a prime spot on Marbella’s Golden Mile, the Marbella Club has a long history, evolving from a rustic motel when it opened in 1954 to the impressive 115 rooms and suites and 17 villas it houses today.

But the Marbella Club also has a keen eye on sustainability, partaking in local seahorse rewilding for the past four years in collaboration with Aula del Mar (Classroom of the Sea). Now, in collaboration with British beachwear brand LOVE BRAND & Co., the Marbella Club is launching an exclusive, seahorse-inspired capsule collection, drawing even more attention to seahorse welfare and the importance of ocean conservation.

Made with 100 per cent recycled materials, a range of swim shorts, unisex linen shirts, sarongs, panama hats and hair scrunchies narrate a connected conservation story via a seahorse motif and geometric prints in hues of Marbella blue.

Seahorse conservation is a big deal at the Marbella Club. A longtime collaboration with Aula del Mar allows the hotel to offer talks and training to increase awareness around seahorse conservation, as well as conservation of their carbon-sequestering seagrass meadow habitats. At the Kids Club, interactive activities and games teach this importance in a fun way, from a young age. Key is the Save the Seahorses Beach Clean Up which, in the summer months, takes youngsters out to the beach, eco-warrior style, to clean up plastic pollution for recycling.

Chairs and sun loungers at dusk on the terrace at The Bebek Hotel by The Stay

The Stay Hotels: Turkey’s First Carbon-Neutral Hotel Group

June 2022

The Stay Hotels group – a design-led brand with five branches across Turkey – recently became the nation’s first carbon-neutral hotel group. And, with a commitment to luxury and cultural immersion, they did it with style: repurposing wood and brick waste materials destined to be destroyed into chic walls, sun loungers and bespoke furniture; using recycled glass bottles to create unique mosaic tiles for their swimming pool; upcycling furniture instead of buying new pieces.

It’s a promising chunk of news from Turkey, a nation which has pledged to reach net-zero by 2053

Read more: This Hotel Group is Carbon Neutral – Here’s How They Did It

Featured Image: Sustainable Greece.