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Flight-free Travel and Year of the Coast

The Green Traveller Digest


Welcome to my latest round up of news about green travel. This newsletter is written by me, Richard Hammond, the founder of Green Traveller. If you'd like to receive the newsletter by email, please subscribe here.

train, foot passenger ferries and Bonifacio harbour, Corsica

Could 2023 be the year that flight-free travel to Europe goes mainstream? There's certainly been a huge increase in the supply of enticing new overland journeys to meet the potential rise in demand, despite the current rail strikes in the UK. For instance, there are new sleeper services between Paris and Vienna, Prague and Zurich, Stuttgart and the coastal town of Rijeka in Croatia. The launch of a new overnight sleeper service from Brussels to Berlin on 25th May will mean it will be possible to depart by Eurostar from London in the afternoon, change to the sleeper train within the same station in Brussels Midi and arrive in Berlin early the following morning. There's a handy summary of these and other routes here: Rail Revival: The best new European train journeys to take in 2023


Green Travel News England's Year of the Coast, 2023 This year will see the creation of the new England Coast Path along with a year-long programme of events occurring around the whole of England’s coastline, from major festivals to local food markets, arts trails and water sports. Samantha Richardson, National Coastal Tourism Academy Director which delivers England’s Coast, says: "As an island nation, this is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of blue health and introduce a new generation to the nature and heritage on our coast. We’ll be championing beach clean-ups, charity swims and of course, the amazing new England Coast Path which will open new coastal stretches to the public for the first time – there’s a lot to celebrate!" For details of events throughout the year, see englandscoast.com

Steps down to the sea on England's Coast
A stretch of coastline in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Diana Jarvis/Green Traveller

Tallinn European Green Capital 2023 The Estonian capital, Tallinn, has begun its year at the European Green Capital for 2023. According to the European Green Capital Jury, Tallinn "has shown a systemic approach in their transition towards sustainability with interlinked strategic goals for 2035, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, the city is the only one of the finalist cities that has signed the Green City Accord". The city has been providing free public transport to its citizens since 2013, and by 2035 the city intends to have free carbon-neutral public transport, aiming to achieve full climate neutrality by 2050. It also has more than 2,100 hectares of protected areas. The main themes of the year of the European Green Capital are biodiversity, climate, green technologies and sustainable city governance. More info at greentallinn.eu. See also Green Traveller's Guide to Estonia >>

View of castle and sea in the distance
Tallinn Old Town: Kaupo Kalda/Visit Estonia

Exodus launches citizen science holidays Adventure tour operator Exodus Travels is launching a collection of Citizen Science holidays to support the 'eBioAtlas', a joint initiative of IUCN and NatureMetrics, which aims to monitor biodiversity in different areas around the world. Guests will take environmental DNA (eDNA) samples from freshwater sources to trace species present in different ecosystems, as well as their migration habits. Guests can take part in the collection of data on several of Exodus's trips, including to the Zambezi, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Portugal. Below is a video about the EBioAtlas project, filmed in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, that explains more about how samples are taken and how visitors will be involved on the Citizen Science Departure trips.


New luxury green hotel in London The 1 Hotels group is opening its first UK hotel in Mayfair this Spring. The nine-story 1 Hotel Mayfair will have 181 rooms (including 52 suites), a wellness spa, and interiors "designed with sustainable elements and practices throughout" using natural materials from the British Isles including reclaimed wood from West Sussex, Yorkshire stone and Welsh slate. The farm-to-table restaurant (with garden terrace) by star chef Tom Sellers "will be grounded in a deep respect for seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients".


Sustainability 'important' for British travellers A new survey of British travellers' attitudes to sustainable travel has found that many consider sustainability is important when selecting a holiday. The survey, commissioned by the Spanish Tourism Office (UK), found that 86% of British respondents value sustainability as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when selecting a holiday destination. This figure rises to 94% amongst 18–24-year-olds and drops to 75% amongst those aged 65 and above. Outside of the UK, 66% of respondents said it’s easy to have a sustainable holiday in Spain, followed by France (65%), Germany (59%) and Italy (57%). Despite this, over half of Spain visitors were not aware of any sustainability measures the country has taken. Manuel Butler, director of the Spanish Tourist Office (UK) said: Whilst we are pleased that 66% of respondents think it’s easy to have a sustainable holiday in Spain, we need to work harder to communicate our initiatives.”

Signpost for agritourism hotel in Spain
The ecologically sensitive hotel Posada del Valle in northern Spain. Photo: Chris Willan/Green Traveller

How to Create the Sustainable Travel Products Customers Want A new report by the World Economic Forum provides information for travel and tourism companies on how to develop products that enable more sustainable travel choices. The report considers "the latest research on sustainable traveller behaviour and the sustainable travel products landscape and composition", provides examples and case studies of current sustainable products, highlights "the roadblocks limiting the adoption of such products, and provides guidance and a call to action for companies and the industry as a whole on how best to develop sustainable travel products". The report, a partnership with Accenture, was produced with the input of industry participants and experts.


New Sustainable Tourism Destination Management Course Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business has launched an 8-week online course on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, which aims to train global hospitality and tourism professionals in using sustainable practices across all areas of the tourism industry. It was developed as a follow-up to the 2019 report Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism, which highlights a gap in fostering the talent, capacity, and leadership needed to manage the greener, more resilient and equitable destinations of the future.


How to be a more responsible and sustainable travel agent Debbie Ward writes in trade magazine Travel Trade Gazette about how travel agents can become more responsible and sustainable, "and, just as importantly, measure their progress".


10 of the best charity holiday stays in the UK Rhiannon Batten writes in The Guardian about ten "brilliantly located cottages, apartments, bothies and hotels" where stays contribute to worthy causes. Places featured include Codley Gate Cottage – a three-bedroom Northumbrian farm cottage near Hadrian's Wall, where bookings help support the Vindolanda Charitable Trust, which runs Roman Vindolanda (the excavated remains of nine successive Roman forts plus an interpretative museum), and Foxes Hotel, Minehead – a smart Victorian hotel on the South West Coast Path that's the UK’s only fully operating training hotel for young people with learning disabilities; guest stays directly support the students’ learning.


In case you missed it... 'Historic deal struck' at Cop15 to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston write in The Guardian that "Governments appear to have signed a once-in-a-decade deal to halt the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems", though they say that the agreement "seems to have been forced through by the Chinese president, ignoring the objections of some African states".


My Tip of the Week One of the questions I get asked most often is how to travel to Greece without flying. There are several ways to do it, but I recently took the train to Bari in eastern Italy from where you can catch the ferry across the Adriatic Sea to Greece (to the Greek port of Igoumenitsa for onward travel to Thessaloniki, or further south to another Greek Port – Patras – for travel to Athens) so I have written a description of the journey using this route, including some tips for where to eat and how to transfer from Bari railway station to the port, see: How to travel overland to Greece by train and ferry from London.

man in high visibility orange overalls and lorries parked on ferry with another ferry and sea in the background
The ferry from Bari across the Adriatic Sea. Photo: Richard Hammond

This week Good news for: Sustainable Art The Sainsbury Centre is the first UK museum to appoint a Curator of Art and Climate Change. Filipino curator, John Kenneth Paranada, who has been appointed in a historic new role as the centre works towards a relaunch in 2023 to tie in with its 50th anniversary, said: “Adapting to climate change is urgent as extreme weather events across the planet turn the distant threat of global warming into our tangible present. Museums and the wider cultural sector share a duty to promote, commission and socialise radical cultural mediations and actions on how we can address the most challenging and complex problem of our age. Art has always been a rallying force to drive social change, it has the power to move, persuade and inspire action." Follow on Instagram #ArtAndClimateChange


Bad news for: UK Wildlife Steven Morris reports in The Guardian that the National's Trust's annual audit reveals a dire year for animals – from toads and bats to birds and butterflies – in the face of a "litany of weather extremes" in 2022.


News from Green Traveller Video on Summer in Sussex

If you're starting to plan your summer travels, I've produced a short video highlighting the joys of visiting Sussex in summer. 'Celebrate in Sussex' is currently showing on the home page of experiencewestsussex.com.

man and woman looking out from pier to sea with buildings in background
Worthing Pier, West Sussex. Photo: Richard Hammond



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