Sustainability

4 ways we're leading the way for responsible travel in 2024

Recently updated on January 4th, 2024 at 06:19 pm

At Trafalgar, we’re doubling down on our commitment to responsible travel in 2024. After a tumultuous year of climate disasters around the world, we know travelers are eager to be a part of the solution, and not the problem. We want you to unlock the best of the world, whilst making a positive difference along the way. To show the ways we’re committed to these principles, we spoke with Shannon Guihan, TTC Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of the TreadRight Foundation, and Gemma Myhill, Head of Special Projects and Sustainability Officer for Trafalgar.

Shannon’s personal recommendations for responsible travel

Professional photograph of Shannon Guihan, Chief Sustainability Officer for TTC.
Shannon Guihan, TTC Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of the TreadRight Foundation

Before we get into how we’re leading the way for responsible travel in 2024, we asked Shannon how she’ll be traveling in the new year, which involves a few pointers in traveling more responsibly. Take it away, Shannon.

Bleisure travel
“In 2024 I’m going to be building upon the way I would typically travel, and that is I will often look for trips that align with my business travel needs. I enjoy combining business and leisure with my family and stay either a little bit longer, or quite a lot longer in some of the destinations I have the privilege to visit. This means that we, as a family, are putting less time in the air.”

Shoulder season travel
“Another way that I have always traveled and continue to do so is to visit destinations in the shoulder season. On top of the sustainability benefits, I feel that we feel we get a little more truth to the destination. It also benefits financially.”

“With the climate crisis, many already hot destinations will just be off limits in the summer months, and we will certainly see the European season push more and more into spring and autumn. Plus, new trends for places like Eastern Canada which are stunning destinations, just less well known.”

We think you’ll also like: 7 reasons our travel experts recommend traveling in shoulder season

“It’s always been important for me to be very mindful about with whom you travel. I think that’s true of airlines, and it’s certainly true of tour operators.”

Shannon makes a good point. Responsible travel is all about committing to being better, so choose your travel partners wisely. On that note, here are 4 ways we’re helping our guests travel responsibly in 2024.

1. We’ve reset our Climate Action Plan

A beautiful glacier and lake, something we strive to preserve through responsible travel

One year ago we reset our Climate Action Plan, accelerating our original climate action commitments to reach net zero GHG emissions across the value chain by 2050. Although this was a year ago, our Climate Action Plan is the foundation for how we set the standard for responsible travel in 2024 and beyond.

“We were the first in the industry to have all three targets (short-term, long-term and net targets) validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), an organization that ensures our targets are aggressive enough to do our part for the planet,” Shannon tells us, also adding that “we established an internal carbon fund to invest in our net zero transition – another industry first.”

Read more about our Climate Action Plan

We think you’ll also like: How Trafalgar is taking action to reduce our impact to net zero emissions

2.  More responsible travel experiences

“Moving ahead, you’re going to see us really dive deep into our travel experiences to ingrain sustainability even further,” Shannon tells us. “It’s a seamless integration of even greater sustainability performance into the guest experience. You often won’t notice, but you can trust that we are constantly evolving our approach. For example, we’re addressing the challenges of crowding through greater offers on the shoulder season.”

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences

“Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are really wonderful way to identify pre vetted experiences, that we know really benefit a community through either environmental or social justice.

“These are really interesting because they are immersive impact experiences that really get you into what makes a place tick, and quite often how that place is navigating with care the challenges the world faces today.”

Women standing in a grou at the Al-Amir Co-op in Jordan.
Visit the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Centre on this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on Jordan Experience, and learn how they create soap from olive oil and greeting cards from recycled paper, followed by lunch prepared by the women.

I always try try to ensure that I can partake in a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience if I’m fortunate enough to be in an area where the Travel Corporation has one (and we have a great many nowadays). That’s true of both my business trips and when with my family. We’ve proudly seen this industry leading TTC initiative grow and grow across our brands.

Read more about how we make it our mission to have a positive impact on the communities and places we visit. Together, WE MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

“Trafalgar surprised us during our Best of Greece tour by giving us a sweet taste of the work done in environmental education by the Grecian apiculturists at Moka Honey” – past guest Valerie.

We think you’ll also like: 3 ways Trafalgar’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences connect you to a destination 

 

3. Investing into carbon reductions

 

“Investments into carbon reductions is going to be the big trend across the board in 2024, there are more and more technological solutions coming online and investments are needed so that these solutions scale,” Shannon tells us.

According to the World Economic Forum, “new technologies are key to achieving arguably one of the greatest challenges for humankind, the transition to net zero.”

Remember the Carbon Fund mentioned earlier? Trafalgar contributes dedicated amount to the Carbon Fund every single year, along with our sister brands in The Travel Corporation. This is then allocated to projects that will reduce our emissions in line with our Climate Action Plan. Shannon tells us that “Currently, we’re investing in 100% renewable electricity across our USA offices, solar power for our Australian offices, and biofuels for our coach fleet.”

“Looking ahead to next year, we are heavily focused on our Scope 3 emissions. These are those produced by our partners and suppliers.

“There are several ways we can reduce our Scope 3 footprint, such as favoring electric and/or biofuels, and by changing our routes such that we are on the road less, and staying in places more. We can also greatly reduce these emissions by saying ‘no to more stuff’.”

4. We’re saying no to ‘more stuff’.

 

Gemma Myhill, Head of Special Projects and Sustainability Officer for Trafalgar, tells us that “From today (7 December), we will cease buying branded merchandise as gifts for guests, trade partners and internal team members and instead, will be making donations to nature-based solutions projects – an industry-first.”

“Current stocks will be donated where possible or used in our business over 2024 so as not to overwhelm charities or end up in landfill.”

“Aligned with our commitment to achieving Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050, we realized that there’s 2500 tonnes of emissions that go into the branded merchandise that we give away every year.”

“We asked ourselves, do people really need more stuff? And the answer is no. We could actually remove these emissions completely from our ecosystem, no longer buy branded merchandise and instead donate to nature-based solutions.

Read more on our donations initiative

The nature-based solutions we’re supporting

“The nature-based solution providers we have selected are Project GreenWave and Rainforest Rescue,” Gemma tells us. “Both existing partners of TTC, the ability to leverage these strong relationships is a testament to how much sustainability is engrained in our core.”

Kelp from Project GreenWave, one of our nature-based solutions that you can donate to and contribute to sustainable travel

Project GreenWave

GreenWave trains and supports ocean farmers in the era of climate change. Donations will be made to their Kelp Climate Fund which enables Kelp farmers to play a climate-positive role with their ocean farms, including carbon and nitrogen removal and habitat restoration. Each donation will fund the planting of 40lbs of kelp, which will help capture carbon and restore marine ecosystems.

An aerial view of Daintree Rainforest.  Rainforest Rescue is one of our nature-based solutions that you can donate to and contribute to responsible travel

Rainforest Rescue

Each donation to Rainforest Rescue restores 1 square meter of Australia’s Daintree Rainforest, and will preserve biodiversity and remove carbon from the atmosphere through planting, maintenance and restoration programs.

Rainforest Rescue’s partnership with Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji, is helping to broaden and deepen our understanding of the rainforest, and the plants and animals that make the Daintree, or Julaymba, so remarkable and worthy of our protection. This is the world’s longest continually evolving rainforest, protecting the Daintree provides ecosystem services which helps to support the Great Barrier Reef – the rainforest and the reef provide rain and clean water that is good for everyone. Rainforest protection and restoration is good Climate Action.

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