Travel Director Pino on his hopes for the future of sustainable travel

Recently updated on July 28th, 2023 at 12:44 pm

How can we travel more sustainably? How can tourism support sustainable initiatives? What can we do as individuals to travel more sustainably? And where can we find hope for the future of sustainable travel? These are the questions we find ourselves asking again and again recently. So as part of Earth Month and our sustainability series we quizzed one of our beloved Travel Directors, Pino Campi, who has led tours for us in Italy since 2012.

We jumped on the phone to find out what he thinks about sustainable travel, the changes he’s seen over the past decade with Trafalgar, and his hopes for the future of sustainable travel.

What is your favorite destination?

I love Sicily. I love the food, I love the beaches, I love the hotel we use on our trips there. You’ve got the islands off the coastline. You’re so spoiled with choices – you don’t know where to go. Sicily has lovely ice cream and cannoli, of course. They grow almonds there and lemon trees, so they make beautiful cakes. I noticed there is a lot of renewable energy happening in Sicily at the moment. You see windmills everywhere, but also they are using waves and currents for renewable energy.

GET INSPIRED: Southern Italy & Sicily

How do you define sustainable travel, and why is sustainable travel important to you?

For me, sustainable travel is an account of all the future and current economic and social environmental impacts. So looking at the impact on elements like the environment, the local communities, and addressing ways to improve. It’s about finding a reasonable balance between being responsible while we visit places, and then taking steps to protect the environment at the same time. 

For me, sustainable travel is very important and I try to make my travel matter. For me, spending money locally and supporting local communities is very important and one of the greatest impacts we can have while on the road.

What role do you think the tourism industry can play in protecting the environment?

There are many ways tourism can support the environment and it goes beyond reducing plastic waste. Bigger projects like supporting the creation of new natural parks and areas of outstanding beauty, for instance. Projects that help to reduce the numbers of animal poaching, that’s very important. Even seemingly simple things like improving water quality can have a big impact on both the environment and people. Of course, any way to increase funding for the conservation of nature will have a major and lasting impact.

How do you think sustainable travel can benefit local communities?

Beyond spending money locally and supporting local small businesses, tourism can impact and help people from all walks of life. There are social impact projects that focus on women, youth, and other more vulnerable groups or minorities. Plus simply the act of travel and interacting with communities different to your own can promote tolerance between people as they learn and better understand each other’s cultures. 

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What initiatives or projects have you seen that you think are making a positive impact on sustainable travel?

A dear friend of mine runs a donkey rescue center in Sicily. These donkeys are rescued from critical conditions. The rescue center works with schools and children to support them with mental health issues, but the center also does tourism activities. It’s the perfect project as she’s helping the donkeys and helping the community. Donkeys are such sweet, gentle and beautiful animals too, so they are perfect for working with children.

What sustainable actions or changes would you like to see continue in the industry?

Yes, this is a good question. The one I love most is avoiding the use of plastic bags to keep the ocean clean. That’s major. I also want to see more trees being planted, and more responsible consumption. Plus recycling is so important, and thinking about the way we get around – choosing buses over cars or cycling and walking where possible.

What personal actions do you take while on the road to travel more sustainably?

With Trafalgar we don’t really use plastic bottles anymore. I print very little – everything can be digital nowadays. I only bring what is necessary and try to get off the beaten path to support small businesses in a destination. With Trafalgar we stay in hotels that need keycards to turn the lights on, which saves power. I try to avoid single-use plastics and choose efficient modes of transportation within a city. 

We invite our guests to bring their own bottle of water bottles so that they can refill it whenever there is a chance. Rome, for example, is filled with fountains where they can refill the bottle. There’s no need to buy water. Over the 10 years with Trafalgar I’ve seen big shift. These days around 75 percent of guests bring a reusable bottle, which is increasing each year. And our guests are increasingly conscious of sustainable actions and the impact they make while traveling.

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What do you hope to see in the future of sustainable travel?

Have you ever heard of these electric airplanes? I fly a lot and would love to see these in the future. Flying has such a big impact and being electric they are much better for the environment, and can even be powered by the sun. I think they were revealed in Paris in 2019 and apparently only cost around $8 per 100 miles, or even lower if they can generate energy through solar or wind power. I think electric planes would be a great game changer for travel and greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the industry.

Do you have more ideas about the future of sustainable travel? Leave us a comment…

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