As the year ramps up, we checked in on one of the most inspiring campaigns of 2017.
The United Nations designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to bring awareness to travel and sustainability among the public and private sector decision-makers.
Tourism, the largest export category in many developing countries, now accounts for 10% of world GDP as well as one in every eleven jobs. Changing how we travel impacts our planet—and big-name companies are leading the charge with impressive initiatives.
In the sector of airline travel, JetBlue bought 330,000 million gallons of biofuel (made from organic matter) to begin using in 2019, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. JetBlue is also among a group of carriers—including Qantas, Lufthansa, and American Airlines—that have invested in more efficient aircraft.
The cruise line Royal Caribbean partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help with ocean conservation; scrubbing machines remove more than 97% of the sulfur dioxide emissions from the ships’ systems. In March, the company announced its completion of a multi-year program, Save the Waves, which increased the number of sustainable tours that not only managed environmental impacts, but also preserved local history and cultures and protected local communities.
The UN’s World Tourism Organization offers resources for travelers (available in several languages), including a guide that suggests travelers buy locally made products, hire local guides, choose tourism operators with environmental policies, learn to speak a few words of the language, and ask before photographing anyone, among other tips.
The initiative has reached a global audience, if the popular hashtag #travelenjoyrespect is any indication. Check out more than 21,000 posts on Instagram—from Iberia to Indonesia to Norway—that showcase the breadth of this galvanizing movement.