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  • Writer's pictureRichard Hammond

Sustainable Travel Hubs & Conscious Travel

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

It feels like the impact of transport on climate change is at last being addressed by mainstream media. In the guide to Four things you can do about your carbon footprint, by Daniel Kraemer & Joe Whitwell on the BBC website, it says "flying is one of the most carbon-intensive things we can do as individuals" and "Domestic flights have the largest emissions per person per kilometre". While the recent jet engine tests by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is a "breakthrough for hydrogen fuel in air travel", reports Helen Cahill in The Times, this is "with a view to delivering a range of aircraft in the mid-2030s", beyond the decade that counts. A recently released report by The Travel Foundation concludes that current tourism sustainability efforts that rely solely on carbon offsetting, technological efficiencies and biofuels are ‘woefully inadequate’ to hit decarbonising targets. It's been great to see that the tourist boards of two of the major outbound destinations from the UK have launched sustainable travel platforms recently. The Greek National Tourism Organisation has launched Sustainable Greece to educate British travel agents, tour operators and consumers about sustainable holidays in Greece, including a trip to a local homestay in Crete and a slow train trip from London to Corfu and Sivota. The Spanish Tourist Office has launched a Sustainability Hub, which aims to "inform media, partners, trade and consumers about Spain’s sustainability initiatives under one banner", including highlighting some of the lesser-known areas of the country.

Green Travel News New Snowshoe trail in Switzerland Gantrischli is a new snowshoe trail in the Fribourg Pre-Alps. It starts at Sangernboden (reachable by bus) near the town of Schwarzsee and passes through the picturesque Muschern valley with views of the Märe mountain peak and the slopes of the Ettenberg. It's a circular route and trekkers can stop off at about the half way mark for a cheese fondue at the Gantrischli alpine hut (an alp dairy in summer). Moonlit treks are available.

The Rise of the Conscious Traveller Outdoor camping specialist Pitchup.com says that data from its website has revealed that "travellers are making more conscious choices for their future getaways, highlighting an aspiration to be better travellers". It found a 288% increase on filtered searches for sites that offer “pick up from public transport” compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic), searches for electric vehicle charging points were up by 48% compared to last year, and searches for cycle hire as an included amenity on site have increased by 154% compared to 2019 and up 173% compared to last year, which the company says shows "that two wheels is one of the most popular ways to explore a destination with virtually no environmental damage".

Tent in green field with flag flying in background
Mena Farn is family-friendly site five miles from the Eden Project

New Greenways in Spain Greenways, known as Vías Verdes in Spanish, are old disused railway lines that have been recovered and reconditioned for use by walkers and cyclists, connecting cities to the local countryside. There are over 117 routes with over 2,900 kilometres of Vía Verde all over Spain and five new routes have been opened in Ciudad Real, Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country, La Coruña, Murcia and Tarragona. An accessible guide provides detailed information and maps that show routes suitable for those with reduced mobility.

Booking.com develops its sustainable travel programme Booking.com has developed its travel sustainable programme to provide customers with more “transparent and credible” information to make an informed choice for their accommodation, reports Josie Klein in Travel Weekly. A year since it launched the programme, the online agency has introduced three levels (1–3) for accommodation to signify the extent to which they have implemented “impactful sustainability practices”. It has also added a new search filter for fully electric and hybrid rental cars to make it easier for travellers to find more sustainable ground transport options.

Study reveals Britain's greenest cities A new study reveals Britain’s greenest cities, such as Exeter and Bristol, which "can benefit from spurt in ‘urban eco-tourism’", report Ameilia Hill and Nazia Parveen in The Guardian. Researchers analysed 68 city centres with populations of at least 100,000, ranking them on tree cover, vegetation, parks and sports fields.

Canal boat on river with colourful houses in background
Bristol is listed as one of the greenest cities. Photo by Andy Newton on Unsplash

Good news for...

Train travellers in Germany Transport Ministers from 16 Germany states have launched a €49 per month ticket for trains, buses and trams from January next year, reports Rosie Frost in EuroNews.travel. Over the summer, a €9 monthly ticket was introduced; the new ‘Deutschlandticket’ or German Ticket, raises that to €49 or around €1.60 per day.

Bad news for... The Great Barrier Reef, Australia Graham Readfearn reports in The Guardian that ocean temperatures over parts of the Great Barrier Reef have reached record levels this month, sparking fears of a second summer in a row of mass coral bleaching.

My Tip of the Week See how far you can travel by train in five hours departing from any city in Europe on the handy interactive map at chronotrains.com. The calculations assume interchanges are 20 minutes and transit between stations is a little greater than walking speed. For more info, see the threads on Twitter by the software developer @benjamintd


========== News from Green Traveller Beginner's Guide to Sustainable Travel

I've written a Beginner's Guide to Sustainable Travel in National Geographic Traveller. "Sustainable, green, responsible — planet-friendly ways to explore the world are more popular than ever but how do you start to make better decisions when you travel? The first step is to understand what sustainable travel is and why it’s important..."

In the article, I've given this brief definition of sustainable travel: Sustainable travel is about travelling in a way that’s sensitive to the climate and nature emergencies while ensuring that the wellbeing of the places we visit gain long-term benefit from us travelling there. It’s a balancing act between maximising the positives of travel while reducing or eliminating the negatives.

And finally... Date for your diary: This Sunday, 4th December, is Wildlife Conservation Day. Follow the news and events at #WorldWildlifeConservationDay




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