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Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative
Contents

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

TripBlog
Sep 6, 20192,1161

International tourist arrivals, having expanded exponentially since the 1950s, are projected to continue increasing over the coming decade. As more people take longer journeys, the resources they consume to reach their destinations, and the impact they cause while there, are significant. Fortunately, major industry players are responding by promoting eco-friendly tourism and so-called green travel. These efforts were given a significant boost when Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, announced he will lead a global effort to bring together companies, consumers, and communities with the aim of foregrounding sustainability. Joining His Royal Highness for the launch of his initiative were travel industry leaders including Jane Sun, CEO of the Group. Sun, who helms one of the world’s largest travel service providers, emphasized the collective responsibility we all have in protecting our planet. To that end, this essay examines the Prince’s new effort and looks at ways individual travelers can reduce their carbon footprint and promote eco-friendly travel.

Contents

1. Consciously Choose Lower Carbon Alternatives
2. Reduce Consumption of Disposable Products
3. Make Your Stay Less Impactful
4. Use Public Transportation Wherever Possible
5. Sightsee Responsibly
6. Engage with Local Communities
7. Consume Locally Sourced Alternatives
8. Ethically Interact with Wildlife
9. Keep Things in Perspective
10. Become an Advocate
Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

The Earth is today at a crossroads. Climate change is real and exacerbating ongoing problems such as resource depletion, environmental degradation, and largescale population displacement. Absent concerted effort by nation states to address greenhouse gas emissions, current scientific consensus predicts a catastrophic rise in average global temperatures. Recent events such as major fires in the Amazon rainforest, Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact in the Bahamas, and overcrowding at popular destinations like Amsterdam and Venice, bring the need to improve travel and tourism into sharp relief. The industry faces a daunting challenge in meeting customer demands while alleviating their environmental impact. Recognizing the need for companies to play a significant role, Prince Harry has spent the last three years working on this new initiative, which he’s calling Travalyst.

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

As outlined on its website, the new consortium, jointly founded by Booking.com, , Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, and Visa, aims to help everyone “explore our world in a way that protects both people and places, and secures a positive future for destinations and local communities for generations to come.” Working together to develop industry best practices, these companies are well-positioned to exert a positive influence due to their sheer size and market presence. Collectively they reach millions of consumers in nearly every country around the world. In committing themselves to work together on eco-friendly travel alternatives, the founders of Travalyst are making a bold statement that they realize the future of their businesses depend on meeting the challenges set out by Prince Harry.

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

Top-down, industry-led approaches are only one part of the solution. Individual travelers can do much to improve their overall travel experiences while simultaneously reducing negative impacts. When contemplating where to go, keep in mind how you can cut back or eliminate waste without sacrificing your overall enjoyment. Here are ten suggestions for eco-friendly travel in an era of climate change:

1. Consciously Choose Lower Carbon Alternatives

Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist, recently sailed by herself from Europe to New York City in order to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Thunberg has been a powerful advocate for alternative modes of transportation, encouraging people to avoid flying whenever possible. As Thunberg herself reminds us, however, her’s is a personal decision born of strong convictions for what needs to be done. For many of us, flying is an integral part of life. Thankfully, companies are working to enhance traveler information regarding the carbon output on different air carriers and routes. Make sure you’re utilizing these resources to make informed choices. Demand travel service providers and airlines work to provide such information where it is not yet available. If possible, take a train rather than fly. If it’s not possible, consider contributing to a carbon offset fund. At minimum, commit yourself to recognizing the carbon cost of your activities and encourage others to do this as well.

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

2. Reduce Consumption of Disposable Products

Seasoned travelers know well how single-use items pervade the modern travel experience. From individual snack packs on flights to disposable water bottles and silverware in restaurants. Cut down on or eliminate anything that can only be used once. Pack refillable shampoo bottles, mouthwash, and other toiletries so you don’t have to use the single serving ones provided by the hotel. Carry a refillable water bottle and perhaps easy to clean travel utensils. Always have a small bag in case you go shopping. If you’re dining out, make a point to order less or bring your own small Tupperware for any leftovers. Can’t stand paper straws? Bring your own or avoid them all together. These simple life adjustments may seem cumbersome at first, but they become easier over time and allow you to know you’re doing your part to save the planet.

3. Make Your Stay Less Impactful

If you’re staying in hotels, find out which brands are serious about reducing their environmental impact and reward them with your business. Scale back the amount of house-keeping you require by reusing your sheets and towels over more than one night. Hotels have every incentive to cut their own laundry costs. Expect them to pass some savings onto you via discounts or other perks when you commit to saving them money. As the Travalyst initiative makes clear, improving travel across the board is the responsibility of every stakeholder. Don’t feel bad about expecting a share of the rewards when you agree to bear some of the costs.

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

4. Use Public Transportation Wherever Possible

Most major cities outside the United States have commendable public transportation systems. Use them. Consider getting from point A to B an adventure requiring you to navigate unfamiliar transit systems. Not only is this more environmentally sustainable, it is a great way to get a sense of the place you’re visiting. Being around local people on a bus, subway, or light rail connection will help you appreciate their day-to-day experiences. If you need to rent a car or travel solo, choose the economy model rather than the sports car. Does the rental agency offer hybrids? Why not try them? Who knows, you might just realize how practical modern hybrids have become. Transportation is a major emitter of greenhouse gases around the world. Finding eco-friendly alternatives is an important action you can take.

5. Sightsee Responsibly

Be mindful of the places you visit. As travel numbers continue to rise, popular destinations are finding it hard to accommodate the influx of new visitors. In an ideal world, everyone could enjoy walking the Venetian Canals or visiting Games of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik. Sadly however, these are two poignant examples of where over-tourism is causing lasting damage. Consider alternative destinations where not only will your spending have greater impact, you won’t be crushed in a throng of people. If you are going to well-traveled spots, remember to take care not to damage your surroundings. For example, stay on marked trails while hiking and avoid bumping coral or other fragile parts of underwater ecosystems while snorkeling.

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

6. Engage with Local Communities

One of the most rewarding things about traveling to foreign places is interacting with people across cultural divides. As we all struggle to do our part, be conscious of the added responsibility you have as someone with the means to travel. Do not expect people to feel the same way you do about environmental issues, especially if you’re going somewhere it is hard to simply make a living. Whenever possible, buy things from local vendors and find ways to help local economies realize the benefits of your travel. Cross cultural exchanges go both ways. Engaging respectfully while adhering to your own environmental values is part and parcel of sustainable travel.

7. Consume Locally Sourced Alternatives

In many places, farm-to-table restaurants are gaining in popularity. Not only are such eateries eco-friendly, they serve better tasting meals and support local farmers. The farm-to-table movement is one aspect of a broader effort to source more things locally. Globalization and trade stitch the world together and have helped many people escape poverty; however, shipping things around the world requires enormous amounts of carbon-based energy. When you travel, make an effort to buy things that aren’t trucked in from distant places. Look for farmer’s markets or local food vendors. Try to find small shops and local businesses. As you help reduce the carbon cost of products you consume, you will direct more resources into the local economy where they benefit local people.

8. Ethically Interact with Wildlife

Wildlife is often the highlight of our travel adventures. Who could resist seeing a magnificent elephant, giant panda, or giraffe? As travelers, it’s important to interact with wildlife in an ethical way. This means not harming habitats in an effort to get that photo for Instagram. Don’t feed animals foods they don’t naturally consume. If you’re visiting a wildlife park or “sanctuary,” make sure they’re treating animals humanely. Don’t assume just because a place claims to protect wildlife they’re actually doing it. Inquire about local conservation organizations and donate to their efforts wherever possible. Be wary of people offering to let you pose with animals. Do not reward their capture and use a props. Above all, remember wild animals should be viewed in the wild from a respectful distance. You wouldn’t want someone coming into your home and taking pictures for social media, would you?

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

9. Keep Things in Perspective

The science is clear. Climate change is real. That said, considerable energy is aimed at misdirecting people’s focus. Yes, protecting the planet will require costs in terms of changed behaviors and foregone opportunities. However, don’t fall for efforts to make you think you’re responsible because you once used a plastic bag or drank from a straw. This just isn’t the case. Major industries, governments, and well-connected people have powerful incentives to shift focus from the real and profound impacts caused by their behaviors. Don’t fall for this sleight of hand. Keep things in perspective. We all have a role to play and we should do what we can as individuals; but as individuals, our power is considerably limited…which is the way some people want to keep it.

10. Become an Advocate

Overcoming entrenched resistance to eco-friendly travel will require action by government and industry players. This is why Travalyst is an important step in the right direction. As an individual traveler, you must make your own voice heard. Let hotels and businesses know you care whether they’re honoring their commitments. Start a trend of always asking questions about environmental practices and policies. The more travelers ask, the more corporations will see eco-friendly initiatives make sense for their bottom line. Changing your own behavior is necessary; however, structural reform is needed to meaningfully tackle global issues. Be a voice in the wilderness and advocate. Start conservations, listen, and be respectful…but above all, stand up and be counted.

Ctrip Group to Work with Prince Harry on Sustainable Travel Initiative

As the world struggles to combat climate change, solutions will require time, effort, or considerable cost. The good news is we are not in this alone. Though it may feel as if your actions barely make a difference, they do. A waterfall begins with but a single drop of water and look what it becomes. Only collective solutions will achieve the scale and impact necessary to truly address the problems we face. Prince Harry has issued a powerful call to industry leaders to get onboard and travel companies like are responding. Led by visionary executives like Jane Sun and others, these firms are witnessing the public groundswell of action. They know what’s good for the planet can also be good for business. As individual travelers and consumers, we have the power to show them this is exactly right. No longer can we do things the same old way. No longer can we just throw up our hands and exclaim it to be someone else’s problem. We are one humanity sharing a ride this thing we call Spaceship Earth. We have to protect it. It’s the only home we’ve ever known.

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