TORONTO — The travel industry has rallied together to commemorate Earth Day 2021, with several tour operators and organizations doubling down on their commitment to protect and preserve the environment.
Taking place today, April 22 with the theme ‘Restore Our Earth,’ Earth Day was first held in 1970 and has grown to include a wide range of events in over 192 countries. Coordinated by EARTHDAY.ORG, the annual event focuses on three key pillars – Education & Science, Personal & Civic Action, and Conservation & Restoration – all aimed at driving positive action for the planet.
In line with that same mission, The Travel Corporation, Globus family of brands, Intrepid, Exodus and VoX International have all launched Earth Day initiatives. Here are the details:
THE TRAVEL CORPORATION (TTC)
TTC and its family of brands have unveiled a five-step Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. In addition, TTC and its TreadRight Foundation are investing US$100,000 in two nature-based carbon removal solutions, Project Vesta and GreenWave, while TreadRight has also launched a new ‘Impact Hub’ in an effort to be transparent about its progress towards TTC’s 11 sustainability goals.
TTC’s Climate Action Plan addresses Goals #1 and #2 of its five-year sustainability strategy, ‘How We Tread Right,’ which targets the carbon footprint of its business. Respectively, the goals commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and to sourcing 50% of electricity from renewable sources across the organization by 2025, including TTC’s 20+ offices, 18 Red Carnation hotels, 13 Uniworld ships, six accommodations/facilities, 500+ vehicles and more than 1,500 itineraries worldwide.
Looking ahead, TTC has committed to carbon-neutral offices and business travel beginning Jan. 1, 2022 through its partnership with offset provider South Pole. At the same time, Contiki will move forward to become a completely carbon neutral business, meaning unavoidable emissions from all trips departing as of Jan. 1, 2022 will be offset going forward.
TTC’s Climate Action Plan consists of the following five points:
- Measure: Measure the emissions from its business and trips
- Reduce: Build on reduction efforts and set ambitious reduction targets by mid-2022
- Remove: Through its TreadRight Foundation, invest in new technology and nature-based solutions to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere
- Offset: Purchase carbon credits to offset unavoidable emissions, including phasing in carbon neutral trips between 2022-2030
- Evolve: Continue to learn from others, invest in new technologies and support strategic alliances that enable the company and the industry to move a low carbon economy
GLOBUS FAMILY OF BRANDS
On the eve of Earth Day, the Globus family of brands unveiled the ‘Lighthouse Project’ that shines a light on how travellers can reduce their footprint and give back to the globe’s greater good. The mission focuses on three give-back categories:
- Planet: The company makes every effort to conserve and preserve waterways and wildlife in each destination visited, and shines a light on organizations that do the same
- People: The company is dedicated to protecting, respecting and supporting global communities and local people
- Places: The company aims to pay it forward so that future generations can enjoy today’s parks, palaces, museums and monuments tomorrow
Currently, the Globus family of brands is highlighting nearly 50 causes focused on each category, with plans to add more. The Lighthouse Project will place a spotlight on one organization per month, providing guests with opportunities to give back. In honour of Earth Day, the first organization is ‘The Ocean Cleanup,’ a global non-profit spearheading the largest plastic cleanup in history to rid oceans and rivers of harmful pollution.
Through May, Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways will encourage guests to support The Ocean Cleanup through a monetary donation or by purchasing sunglasses made from recycled plastics culled from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Intrepid Travel, which has been carbon neutral since 2010, has reimagined its product line to incorporate new and amended itineraries with lower carbon outputs.
As the first and only tour operator in the world with verified science-based climate targets (established in October 2020), Intrepid operates in line with a 1.5°C future, championed by the historic 2015 Paris Agreement. In the last year alone, Intrepid has introduced over 40 low-carbon alternative tours, including new closer-to-home adventures and walking/cycling trips, and is also switching out carbon-intensive inclusions for more sustainable activities on a number of its tours.
As part of Intrepid’s commitment to a 1.5°C future, it continues to reduce emissions across its operations and trips, replacing transportation options on many itineraries to lower carbon alternatives. Its decarbonization plan will include removing flights of 90 minutes or less from its top 50 itineraries by 2022. For example, it has traded out internal flights with high-speed rail on the majority of trips in China.
Noting that walking- and cycling-based trips are some of the lowest carbon-output trip styles, Intrepid has added 25 new walking tours and 15 new cycling tours in
Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. These include ‘Trek The Larapinta Trail’ (Australia), ‘Cycle the Lake District’ (U.K.) and ‘Walk Yosemite National Park’ (U.S).
In addition to the new and amended tours, Intrepid has made a concerted effort to identify and contract more accommodations that use renewable energy sources with eco-credentials. It is also trialing electric vehicles for arrival transfers in several destinations like Jordan and Iran.
In addition to its newly launched ‘Rewilding’ initiative that commits to rewilding 100 square metres of wilderness per traveller, Exodus has announced a further initiative to lower its carbon footprint. The tour operator is expanding its train travel offering for escorted tours, meaning that one-third of all Exodus Travels Europe adventures can now be booked without any additional flights required from London, the ideal gateway to European train travel for North Americans.
While North Americans will still need to fly across the Atlantic to embark on their European adventure, the option for rail travel will significantly decrease the number of flights they would typically need to get around the continent. Where longer trips are required, such as travelling to the Amalfi Coast, Exodus will arrange hotel accommodation near the train station and allow for time to enjoy an overnight stay. All new bookings are protected by Exodus’s flexible booking policy.
Two of Exodus’ small-group tours are available in the new collection, including the 12-day ‘Highlights of the Amalfi Coast’ from US$1,799 per person, and the 15-day ‘Tour du Mont Blanc Camping Trek’ from $2,449. Prices include rail journeys.
In honour of Earth Day, VoX International announced a new collaboration with Travelife, an internationally-recognized training, management and certification program for sustainability in tourism. As a destination marketing and PR firm, VoX’s clients include the Costa Rica Tourism Board, the German National Tourist Office, Hawaii Tourism Canada and Tourism Australia, all of which are renowned for their sustainable strategies.
As part of the new collaboration, a comprehensive review of VoX’s operations and practices will be conducted in order to position VoX has an industry role model in driving positive change with clients and tourism organizations. Through regular training and sustainable policies and practices, VoX aims to become Travelife Certified by early 2022.