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What is Green Travel?

recycle reuseImage Credit: sarahracha

Green travel has joined green energy as one of the top green industries. But how is green travel different than sustainable travel or ecotourism?

Like its cousins in other industries, green travel hones in on the environmental impact of travel businesses and consumers. Green travellers and travel companies seek to reduce the footprint of their efforts through a wide variety of activities that primarily fall under the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Some definitions of green travel incorporate other aspects of ecotourism, such as respecting locals and their culture and supporting local economy, but the label typically refers to travel that is environmentally-conscious and low-impact.

The Traveller’s Role in Green Travel

For the traveller, travelling green may be very similar to your habits at home.

Travellers can:

  • reduce carbon emissions by using public transportation on the ground or offsetting emissions from their flight;
  • fill reusable water bottles with boiled or filtered water instead of buying bottled water in countries where the tap water isn’t drinkable;
  • take extra efforts to find recycling facilities for their plastic and paper waste on the road;
  • stay in an environmentally-mindful hotel;
  • patronize restaurants that serve local produce;
  • book trips with tour operators that work to lower their environmental footprint.

Beyond their own behaviour, it’s important for green travellers to consciously support green businesses with their spending decisions.

Travel Companies’ Role in Green Travel

From hotels to tourism bureaus to tour operators, travel businesses create green travel opportunities for visitors in a variety of ways. They may use energy efficient methods to reduce their emissions or purchase produce and other perishable products locally to cut down on emissions from long-distance imports. They may set up linen reuse programs and offer guests filtered water or create comprehensive recycling programs for glass, plastic, paper, and metal waste.

Green travel businesses often go by many other names: eco-friendly, environmentally-conscious, or just eco.

What is Green Travel?

In the end, green travel is both a way of physically travelling and a way for travel businesses to conduct their operations.

It respects the environment through responsible behaviours and offsets, or lessens the negative effects of tourism on the environment.

What does green travel mean to you? Is there anything you’d add to this definition?

*Read More in our “What is _____ Travel?” series”*

What is Eco Travel?
What is Responsible Travel?
What is Sustainable Travel?
What is an Ecolodge?
What is Responsible Volunteering?


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