Climate change and tourism: how to achieve sustainability?

18_Mar_2021Destinations, Vision

Tourism is a complex phenomenon that affects the environment of travel destinations as well as global transformations, such as climate change. Here’s how we can make our contribution to achieving SDG Goal 13 “Climate action” when we travel.

Global warming, extreme weather, a rising sea level with numerous island destinations that are becoming flooded, while others are gradually turning into deserts: climate change is a growing challenge for the survival of life and mankind on earth. And travellers are heavily involved.

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The impact of tourism on climate change

The exponential growth of international tourism in the years preceding the pandemic contributed substantially to climate change. The impact of travel on global warming is dominated by the emissions of tourism transport. About 75% of all emissions are accounted for by the transportation of tourists between their homes and destinations, particularly in terms of longer distances. In 2005, 40% of all tourist – kilometres travelled were by air, 41% by private car, and the remainder by train, coach, ferries, and cruise ships. Clearly, a sustainable approach should first and foremost concern the downsizing of aviation.

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If tourism were to return to growth as it has in recent years, we expect it to be solely responsible for a 1.5-2% increase in temperature on planet earth by 2070. It is to be hoped that something needs to change and that we need to rethink the ways people will experience travel in the future. We all hope to be able to travel safely again soon, to satisfy our desire to know different places and cultures, but we should consider the environmental impact of our travels and give our contribution to achieving SDGs Goal 13: take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

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Close-to-home holidays: key for climate change action

Even though the total share of long-haul trips covering more than 6,000 km one way are small even though increasing, these trips are a dominate source of CO2 emissions causing 24% of all tourism’s CO2 emissions in 2015 and 45% in 2100: tourism cannot become sustainable for climate change if it does not develop away from long and medium-haul air travel.

To reduce the ecological impact of our holidays, we should choose destinations not too far from the place where we live, reachable by train or bus. To move freely once we arrive at our destination, we can rent a bicycle or put comfortable shoes in the suitcase for healthy walks. A close-to-home holiday is also an opportunity to get back in touch with your traditions and rediscover what is wonderful around you.

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Get ready for your alternative travel

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey! One of the probably biggest impact of the travel industry on climate change are the CO2 emissions we produce while traveling to our holiday destination. But what about turning your travel journey into the actual goal of your next holidays?

We know, that hiking or bicycling long distances is not the first choice for many holiday seekers, but this slow and sustainable travel alternative has many beneficial advantages. Besides the obvious reduction of harmful pollutants through conventional means of transportation such as cars or plains, discovering a country by foot or by bike gives you a whole different perspective of your surroundings.

Not only will you see less touristic parts of the destination, but you will also be more aware of all the small little details nature has to offer.

Decelerating your travel will inevitably affect your way of thinking as well as train your awareness for your own thoughts and for your environment. Last but not least, hiking has a great impact on your mental as well as on your physical health and will probably be the most enriching way to strengthen your body.

Of course, this alternative way of traveling is still affecting the climate change if you plan a hiking trip on the other part of the world. Try to consider tracking trails within your area or destinations that you can easily reach by train.

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Activate your city and help us become more sustainable

Fairbnb.coop’s community powered tourism model is based on the direct involvement of local communities: we are present only where there is a local node that shares our sustainability values and chooses to join our project.

Local nodes are the engines of Fairbnb.coop, tailoring the platform to the needs of local communities, deciding on the projects that will be funded by revenues, and ensuring the cooperative’s principles are upheld.

You can contribute to Fairbnb.coop’s sustainable tourism model in many ways: not only by booking a stay through our platform, but also by proposing a social project that needs financial support, by publishing your listing as a Fair Host or by becoming a Fairbnb.coop ambassador in your area. With climate change, the future of our planet is at stake – do your part!

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Why Fair?

How it works:
The Host earns the same,
the Guest pays the same
but the benefits are for the whole community.

50% of our platform fee is used to fund a project of your choice for the communities you visit.

This is a what we call
Community Powered Tourism.

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