Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Tourism

Show Travelers They’re Part of Solution, Not Problem — VisitScotland CEO

1 day ago

Destinations should aim to reassure travelers that they’re having a positive impact, by actively promoting sustainable tourism.

That was the message from VisitScotland CEO Malcolm Roughead, speaking at the Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit on Wednesday.

He said that VisitScotland seeks to make visitors aware of the environment, encouraging them “to be part of the solution, rather than problem.”

Speaking during the “Why Industry Collaboration is Central to Driving Change” panel debate, he said that Scotland was adding more vehicle charging points around the country, so visitors know that when they travel around remote islands they won’t run out of electricity.

“We’re looking at connectivity in and around Scotland, so people feel they are contributing,” Roughead said. “It’s not about value based tourism, but values based tourism. More people want people to leave (Scotland) not just as they found it, but better, via regenerative tourism.”

Airlines

Amex GBT, Accenture and Shell Partner on New Sustainable Fuel Platform

2 weeks ago

American Express Global Business Travel, Shell and Accenture have teamed up to launch Avelia, a so-called book-and-claim platform designed to help businesses buy sustainable aviation fuel.

The book and claim model allows companies to pay for the fuel, and claim the benefits, even if it’s not available at their departure airport. The fuel is instead fed into another aircraft in an airport where available.

The goal is to drive down the costs of a fuel that’s between two and eight times dearer than conventional jet fuel.

“Once book-and-claim is approved by industry bodies as an acceptable form of emissions reduction, Avelia could enable airlines and companies who choose sustainable aviation fuel to authenticate, record and report the associated emissions reduction benefits of the fuel towards their voluntary environmental, social, and corporate governance reporting, regardless of where in the world the fuel is used to fuel a flight,” the company said.

The model is also used when purchasing “green electricity” and has been described as one of the most suitable solutions by the European Union. “It balances the fuel’s technical potential, the administrative burden for the aviation industry and fundamental EU Emissions Trading System requirements, like fraud protection,” according to one study.

Drop in the Ocean

The road to decarbonizing business trips is a long one, however. It’s still hard to tell if there’s any meaningful impact. The fuel is still very expensive, and as a pilot program, Avelia will initially offer one million gallons of the fuel, which it claimed was enough to power almost 15,000 individual business traveler flights from London-to-New York.

Overall this pilot wants to demonstrate the credibility of the book-and-claim model. Avelia was developed by Shell and Accenture, with the support of the Energy Web Foundation, but wants to tap into the buying power of Amex GBT’s 19,000 customers.

Will they pay the premium?

“Sustainable aviation fuel is a key enabler of decarbonisation in the aviation industry, and it’s available today. However, it’s currently scarce and costs more than conventional jet fuel,” said Jan Toschka, president of Shell Aviation. “Avelia will help trigger demand for sustainable aviation fuel at scale, providing confidence to suppliers like us to further increase investment in production, and in turn helping to lower the price point for these fuels.”

Amex GBT recently formed an alliance with Shell to help increase the supply of sustainable aviation fuel.

Shell has committed to purchasing the environmental attributes equivalent to 100,000 gallons of the fuel over the pilot phase. It said it would increase that as soon as more of the fuel is available, as it wants to abate 45 percent of its corporate travel emissions through sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.

Sustainable aviation fuel can be made from plant or animal material, and can reduce lifecycle emissions by up to 80 percent compared to conventional jet fuel

“We’re calling on all companies to join us and share the costs and benefits of sustainable aviation fuel across the travel and aviation sectors,” said Paul Abbott, CEO of Amex GBT.

United Airlines and United Airlines Ventures last week announced they were buying at least 300 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from utilization company Dimensional Energy over a period of 20 years. United aims to be a “100 percent green net zero” by 2050, without the use of traditional carbon offsets.

On Sunday, Qantas Airways and Airbus said they would invest up to $200 million to accelerate the development of a sustainable aviation fuels industry in Australia to help meet the airline’s goal of lowering carbon emissions.

Tourism

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.

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