As the world emerges from the global pandemic and travel resumes, one thing is clear – the travel industry is unlikely to go back to how it used to be.
A Booking.com survey found that 61% travellers want to travel more sustainably after the pandemic, while Google revealed a 70% rise in the number of people searching for sustainable travel options in 2021.
Are you are one of those people? If so, then here’s some good news: it’s now easier to travel responsibly than ever before. By tweaking your holiday plans with our suggestions, you can consciously make your upcoming holiday more meaningful and sustainable, all while ensuring you still have the fun and relaxing adventure you’re looking for.
Flying creates one of our biggest carbon footprints. If the aviation industry were a country, it would rank sixth in its emission of greenhouse gases.
But all is not lost, as booking a flight with lower emissions is easier these days thanks to online booking services such as Google Flights and SkyScanner. Alternatively, a little research will call up airlines with sustainable policies such as Delta, which is working to remove single-use plastic from all flights, or KLM, which has begun adding 0.5% sustainable aviation fuel – made from recycled cooking oil – to all flights departing from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Staying in accommodation that’s proactive in reducing its emissions and waste is one sure way to reduce the impact of tourism on a destination. In Bali, Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape has a zero-waste kitchen and was built with upcycled ulin wood previously used on local piers and fishing boats. With its ‘no walls, no doors’ design and infinity pool overlooking the rainforest, it’s easy on the eye, too.
Meanwhile, other Banyan Tree properties conduct regular activities to help remediate natural environments. These include site clean-ups and tree-planting programmes, which have resulted in more than 500,000 trees being planted since 2007.
Make a difference while making memories, with low-carbon activities or those that give back to the community or environment. Go on a nature trek to spot local flora and fauna, enjoy a natural spa treatment under Banyan Tree Bintan in Indonesia’s Stay for Good programme or partake in a citizen science project at the Banyan Tree Marine Lab in Vabbinfaru in the Maldives and help record sightings of vulnerable species such as turtles and sharks.
You might want to leave decision making back in your office, but making small decisions while on holiday can have a huge impact on the communities you visit – and we’re not just talking about which cocktail to order.
Help reduce your impact by choosing to pack a water bottle such as Ocean Bottle – made from stainless steel and recycled plastic – and embrace slow travel. Instead of being cocooned in an air conditioned car, explore on foot, bicycle or by train and relish the sensation of fresh air and a chance encounter with friendly locals.
Taking home handmade souvenirs from local craftsmen not only supports small economies, but also ensures your purchases are meaningful and come with plenty of stories. Our on-property Banyan Tree Retail Gallery outlets carry curated collections of items unique to each destination, lovingly made by talented local artisans. Alternatively, fair trade producers are always just around the corner, such as Seven Tea One, which employs marginalised communities and sells tea and soap, or Fugeelah, which educates young refugees and sells jewellery, both near Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur and Banyan Tree Pavilion Hotel.
These are just some suggestions to help make your trip a more environmentally friendly one, along with doing a bit of pre-trip research. This could simply mean travelling in shoulder season to soothe overtourism, and reaping the benefits of quieter beaches and attractions.
Ultimately, every little decision can contribute to making a significant collective impact, helping to preserve the world’s most beautiful destinations for generations to come.
Find out more about our efforts to enable responsible travel through our Banyan Tree Global Foundation.