Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Travelers Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Fossil Fuel Emissions — Sustainability Expert

1 day ago

Although a rising number of consumers have expressed a desire to travel more sustainably in recent years, one travel executive believes guilt is not an appropriate emotion when thinking fossil fuels emitted while traveling.

Michel Gelobter, a sustainability expert and CEO Cooler, said — during a discussed tilted “The Business Advantage of Sustainability” — at Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit on Wednesday that while reducing the use of fossil fuels would help improve travel, travelers shouldn’t bear the responsibility for making that happen.

“The people who really have to change are the ones emitting fossil fuels directly,” Gelobter said. “Radisson doesn’t have control over the smoke stacks (and) the power of their hotels.”

But Gelobter urged consumers to push suppliers, supply chains and policy makers to drive fossil fuels out of the market and run on clean energy.

“If you turn off your house in a good way, many forms of travel actually (have a) lower footprint than staying home, depending on where you live.”


Treat Local Communities With Respect, Demands Sustainability Consultant

1 day ago

Tourism businesses engaging with local communities need to treat their hosts respectfully.

That’s the message that Judy Kepher-Gona, a sustainability consultant and founder of Kenya-based Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, conveyed during Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit on Wednesday.

Kepher-Gona told Skift Editor-at-Large Lebawit Lily Girma — in a discussion titled “Putting Communities at the Center of Tourism” — that good tourism businesses reached out to local communities during the heart of the pandemic, citing successful examples she saw in Kenya of companies negotiating business dues with communities.

“All this thinking and narrative that communities don’t understand tourism …. its vulnerability and … complexity was demystified,” Kepher-Gona said. “Because they sat around the table and said, ‘Yes, we understand what Covid has done for the industry.'”

But although Kepher-Gona believes host communities are willing to engage with tourism businesses, she still sees a lot of disrespect toward local citizens.

“Most of the time, they are excluded in the conversation because it is thought they don’t understand a lot of things,” Kepher-Gona said.

Tour Operators

Still Too Much Sustainability Rhetoric From Travel Companies, Says Intrepid Chairman

1 day ago

The chairman and co-founder of Intrepid Travel has said there was too much “rhetorical flourish” from travel companies when it comes to discussing sustainability.

Speaking at the Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit on Wednesday, Darrell Wade bemoaned how organizations were touting a “build back better” ethos, while failing to take action.

“It’s disappointing, embedded into marketing, or even worse the boardroom,” he said during the online event.

“Half of the companies, probably more, will have done nothing. At the World Travel & Tourism Council, a good number of companies are talking the right way, and committing, but not enough are putting the rubber on the road.”

While some companies had managed to go beyond what he described rhetorical flourish, he said travel companies needed to ensure there was”company engagement” from the top, and they needed to commit measurable action, including science based targets. “You need to sign up to have that line in the sand,” Wade told moderator Rafat Ali, Skift CEO and co-founder.

“Sustainability is not easy, it’s heavy lifting. Even one aspect like climate change, to work out a pathway to zero emissions, is a lot of work,” he added.

Tour operators like Intrepid are at the forefront of the sustainability movement, Wade argued, because they are, in a physical sense, on the ground and dealing with locals, going face to face with communities.

“We’re often in remote areas, and that’s one of the reasons we go there,” he said. “It takes something climate change, and not a lot of imagination, to realize destinations will be impacted by climate change, before the New Yorks and Shanghais of the word,”

And overall he said that tour operators, including Intrepid, still have a long way to go, as they still emit a lot of carbon emissions.

By failing to take action, operators could end up alienating a public who are demonstrating intent to travel greener. Travel could become the new oil, Wade suggested, if tourists started saying “I’m not going to get in a plane.”

“It’s the role of every CEO, and staff member to start banging the drum,” he added.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article described Wade as CEO.


National Parks to Drop Single-Use Plastics Within 10 Years

3 weeks ago

The U.S. Department of Interior will phase-out the use of single-use plastics from areas it manages, including all national parks, within 10 years.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland mandated the move, which aims to reduce waste, by 2032 in an order issued on June 8. Products that will be phased out include “plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery and disposable plastic bags.”

(Michael Quinn/Grand Canyon National Park)

“As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth,” Secretary Haaland said.

The travel industry has identified single-use plastics as a key way to reduce its environmental impact. A 2021 report by the World Travel and Tourism Council and the United Nations Environment Program recommended that travel companies reduce use of these products and seek replacements “wherever possible.”


Prince Harry Participates in TV Skit to Promote Sustainable Travel

2 months ago

Prince Harry has appeared in a TV skit to encourage people to travel more sustainably.

The Duke of Sussex took part in a pre-recorded skit on New Zealand TV with actors Rhys Darby and Dave Fane as part of a campaign promoting Travalyst, a non-profit organization and partnership Prince Harry founded in 2019 to encourage greener practices in the travel industry. Prince Harry said the campaign was inspired by the Maori culture, which he added places a significant emphasis on sustainability.

Companies such as TripAdvisor, Skycanner, Visa, and Google are a part of Travalyst. Google announced last month it was choosing a new method of collecting and displaying flight emissions data developed by Travalyst.




Clear Filters