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Measure for measure: It’s time to offset your global travels

In the tourism industry we are constantly inundated with feelings of guilt about our travels. A recent headline in the New York reminded us as much. It read ’Flying Is Bad For The Planet. You Can Help Make It Better’.

Because prevention, rather than treatment, is always a better path to follow the airline suggests measures to take such as flying in economy class rather than in the much more comfortable seats in front of the curtain. For some travellers, however, a reservation in either business or first class is a prerequisite to boarding any commercial aircraft.

The article also suggests, more sensibly, that we should offset our carbon emissions. Some airlines offer ways for travellers to offset flights when purchasing tickets. (IATA also provides guidelines for offsetting for its airline members.)

PATA partner EarthCheck has provided a carbon calculator that helps to calculate the amount of carbon your activities have emitted into the atmosphere.

Companies are encouraged to offset staff travel and other business activities. Hotels, in particular, must do more to create opportunities for guests to offset their stays. Offsetting is not only good for the environment but it also builds a brand’s image and reputation.

There are many organisations that offer carbon offsetting as a service such as Conservation International, and Sustainable Travel International. There are also organisations such as myclimate or Nexus that take funds for offsetting and put them into projects that help to reduce carbon emissions in other ways – such as investing in clean cooking stoves in marginalised communities.

Costs may either be absorbed by the company through fundraising, passed on to guests/clients by opting in, or by building this cost element into the overall price. Choose your path to sustainability – and remember to share this commitment by communicating your sustainability efforts to your guests

Carbon offsetting isn’t just about planting trees and it’s certainly not a solution to climate change and global warming. It’s not a perfect system by any means but it is a socially responsible action that reduces the negative environmental impact caused by greenhouse gas emissions.


* Share your carbon offset commitments with PATA members and the wider global travel community. Send details to: [email protected] and [email protected]