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Sustainable Travel Blog


These feet are made for walking . . .


This month we want to talk about sustainable transport, to encourage everyone to reduce their carbon footprint and offer some simple ideas to promote greener ways for your guests and visitors to reach you.

Firstly, a few stark statistics to get the issue of transport into perspective.

  • Flying is by far the most lethal form of transport in terms of carbon emissions: a round trip from New York to California generates 20% of the greenhouse gases emitted by a car over a whole year.
  • Transport systems account for 20-25% of the world’s energy consumption and carbon emissions, with road transport a major contributor also to local air pollution.
  • Currently 95% of the energy used by transportation comes from petroleum.
  • The Mayor of London has pledged that by 2041, 80% of all Londoners’ trips will be made by foot, cycle or public transport.

If air travel is the most damaging in terms of emissions, road travel must be next in line.  But there are plenty of ways to lessen the impact, from the manufacture of lighter buses to changing driving style, reducing tyre friction and of course, the purchase of electric, hybrid and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, whether for commercial, public or private use. 

Electric rail and tram travel is a solid sustainable option with cycling and walking coming out top in so many ways – zero carbon emissions and health promoting at the same time.  That’s why we suggest if you run a tourism business, whether that’s hospitality based or a visitor attraction, it’s a great idea to encourage visitors to arrive by bike, on foot, or via public transport, with incentives and facilities to back up your pro-green travel values.

There’s no doubt that holidaying locally or at least in your home country, reducing distances travelled and minimising air travel cuts your carbon levels significantly.  Visiting a small geographical area and exploring it thoroughly, by foot, bike or even on horseback is infinitely better for the environment and communities than hopping between major destinations hundreds of miles apart.  Reinforcing this attitude is a great way for Green Tourism members to attract new and repeat business because more and more visitors are now actively looking at sustainability credentials when planning a trip.

Promote activities to your visitors that support local enterprises and do the least damage environmentally: suggest kayaking rather than going on a speedboat tour, for example, or incentivise guests to leave their cars once they’ve arrived by offering a discount on bike hire schemes – this kind of initiative is also a positive way to establish partnerships with like-minded tourism providers in your area.

Lastly, why not take advantage of a brilliant way to encourage electric car use: contact our member Brite Technical Services on, and they can help you with funding application towards the cost of purchasing and installing a home charging point – it’s called the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme and is well worth considering if you have a tourist attraction where people come in their cars.