PATA | Contact

All posts tagged Sustainable Travel

Credit: Shutterstock

Guest blogger Jackie Edwards gives tips for sustainable hair and skincare when traveling:

The tide of sustainable travel is rising in Asia, thanks to savvy hoteliers who are in tune with the modern traveler’s wishes to experience the beauty of the world without leaving a huge carbon footprint. Sustainability involves everything from water recycling right through to activities such as tree planting or beach clean-ups. Conscientious travelers are taking it a step further by ensuring their skin and beauty routines are not polluting waterways or using environmentally harmful packaging. In this post, we highlight just a few ways that beauty and sustainability during don’t have to be mutually exclusive concepts when traveling.

Packaging and content of personal care items

When buying creams and serums to take along with you on your trip, ensure that as many products as possible come in biodegradable, compostable or plantable packaging and that they don’t contain chemical ingredients that are harmful to you and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified personal care products and pharmaceuticals as “emerging contaminants of concern” for fish. These chemicals can lead to various diseases in sea life, which are in turn consumed by other animals up the food chain. Do your share for the environment when shopping for personal care items abroad by avoiding products containing toxic ingredients, some of the most common of which include phthalates, sulfates, and parabens.

Opting for a natural look

Those with long, multi-ethnic hair can choose a perm over natural hair as a way to reduce the need for styling while traveling the globe. While styling curly hair can be more challenging than ‘relaxed’ hair, perms can affect our health and the environment, as toxic chemicals used in these treatments can once again make their way into our water system, affecting fish and other marine life.

One study by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) found that long-term exposure to products commonly used in hair salons leads to a plethora of negative health conditions frequently faced by salon workers.

Styling curly hair and having beautifully defined curls is easy. It requires two main things: deep moisturization, and a hair diffuser, which is used to give curls an extra bounce. Forego shampooing and use a conditioner instead. While conditioning hair in the shower, add a little olive, coconut, or argan oil and rinse out afterward. For an extra moisture boost, add a bit more oil, comb hair out and voila! You won’t even need to dry your hair afterward.

For makeup, try replacing your favorite commercial brands with mineral makeup brands, which possess beautiful textures and long-lasting power, much like best-selling brands.

DIY beauty

You can make a plethora of travel products yourself and if you use fragrant essential oils, we guarantee you will become hooked on the quality of what you produce. Think exfoliants made by mixing coconut oil with rock salt or sugar, or homemade deodorant made by blending a tablespoon of shea butter, a teaspoon of baking powder and few drops of an essential oil like lemon or bergamot. Think of how much plastic you will be saving by foregoing store-bought versions.

Reuse and recycle

Do you remove makeup with disposable wipes? There is no need to do so when you can do a much better job with a piece of cloth (cut up into squares) and a dab of micellar water, which removes even the toughest makeup products.

To remain beautiful while on the go, try to balance practicality and rapidity with mindful use of resources. Reuse materials when you can, make your own products to go, and support brands that care for the environment and support the causes that mean something to you.


Interested in learning more about DIY beauty? Find out how to use coffee grounds in your beauty routine. We’ve also got some great tips on eco-friendly travel essentials for you here. Be sure to check out PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for more information about being a responsible traveller before, during and after your trip.

See more of Jackie’s writing: 

A little closer to home: sustainable everyday life choices

A guide to sustainable travel for seniors

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

How to choose an eco-friendly hotel

Greening the air inside of your home



The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (Credit: Green Hotelier)

The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector has a bigger role to play in measuring and promoting sustainable travel according to Stewart Moore of EarthCheck.

The MICE sector represents big business, delivering major economic benefits that are a key contributor to the growth in tourism and leisure development worldwide. And the benefits from MICE extend far beyond the actual hosting of the event, with trade opportunities being generated in both host and visitor countries: tourism represents 5% of global GDP and contributes to more than 8% of total employment.

“The sheer size and reach of the tourism and travel sector now gives it a substantial voice, but it is important to recognise that you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” EarthCheck CEO and founder, Stewart Moore said.

Mr Moore said he is surprised that MICE operators and tourism groups worldwide, who are doing excellent work in sustainability, seem to be still hesitant to share their stories.


Read the full article what the MICE industry can do more to promote sustainable travel here.

By  for The Green Hotelier.


Credit: Olivier Kugler

When you think of sustainable travel, what comes to mind? Gorilla trekking in Uganda, perhaps, or a sojourn in a remote yet well-appointed eco-lodge in the forests of Costa Rica, or even a luxurious stay at a Galápagos safari camp with an infinity pool and locally made teak furniture. If these high-cost trips are what pop into your head, your picture of what qualifies as sustainable tourism is not necessarily wrong — it’s just incomplete.

The term sustainable travel has been inextricably tied to opulent eco-travel. Fueled by a desire for guiltless extravagance and increasing attention paid to climate change, sustainability became a misused, industrywide buzzword associated with far-flung, expensive trips.

But sustainable tourism doesn’t have to be expensive.


Read the full article on how sustainable travel can be budget-friendly. 


By Lucas Peterson for The New York Times.


Credit: Shutterstock

Although Macao is often referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ it has much more to offer than casinos. Macao retains its Portuguese colonial legacy with European architecture and cuisine still evident throughout the city.


With the annual PATA Travel Mart taking place in Macao next week we share with you some tips to ensure a responsible and enjoyable visit to this fascinating part of north east Asia.


Enjoy local foods


Enjoying authentic fare will be easy in Macao as there are some amazing street food markets that offer local food. Explore the Red Market, where you can try many local snacks and Macanese specialties. Visit Coloane Market which offers all kinds of healthy and organic options. Check out the Food Street at Broadway Macao, located on a traditional Macanese hawker-style street market that offers many Asian and local specialties. Make sure you try the famous Portuguese egg tarts and other signature dishes.


Buy local souvenirs


Get your souvenirs at local shops, and try to ‘spread the wealth’ by shopping in different places. Remember, do not buy any souvenirs made from endangered species, which can be illegal to export. Download the Wild Witness app that enables tourists to report illegal wildlife trade by taking a picture of a product and sharing its location. Common products from endangered species include ivory, tortoiseshell, reptile skins, furs, corals and seashells.


Sleep green


More ‘green’ hotels are popping up in Macao. Make sure that you book a hotel that meets the appropriate sustainability standards by looking for the Macao Green Hotel Award label. You could choose one of these five Sands hotels that are Gold category winners: Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, Conrad, Sheraton Grand and Holiday Inn Macao.


Use public transport or walk


Try to avoid taking taxis and use public transport or walk. The Macao peninsula and the islands are easy to explore on foot. The bus system might be difficult for foreigners that do not speak the local dialects but most hotels offer free shuttle-bus services to take you to tourist attractions and casinos.


Enjoy nature


Macao has an impressive nature scene. Go cycling on Taipa Island and be rewarded with some amazing views. The larger island of Coloane, formerly a haven for pirates, is popular for hiking and cycling. Macao is also known for its gardens including the Lou Lim Loc Garden on the peninsula. Camoes Garden is also popular with locals and tourists.



Credit: Eco Warrior Princess


As environmental awareness grows, so does the number of phrases used to describe ‘green’ consumer choices. With everything from ‘biodegradable’ to ‘biodynamic’, the sheer amount of jargon can get more than a little confusing.

This is particularly true of the travel industry, where ‘ecotourism’ and ‘sustainable tourism’ are often used interchangeably. But is this accurate?


Travel is a fairly big deal. Billions of people travel internationally every year, and the industry is only predicted to grow in years to come. What’s encouraging is to see that as we become increasingly environmentally conscious, we’re moving towards a global landscape where more and more people make green travel choices. But with so many different environmentally friendly travel options available, and a lot of terminology to sift through, things can get a little muddled.


Read the full article to learn about the difference between Ecotourism and Sustainable Travel. 


By James Hale for Eco Warrior Princess. 


Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

Categories: Blog Posts
Comments Off on Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

by Jackie Edwards, editor, researcher and writer 

Sustainable Tourism: Ways Your Trip Can Have a Positive Impact

When we go on holiday to a new place, it is increasingly important to us to learn as much as we can about the local atmosphere and culture. Often, the best part of the trip is when we are able to interact with the people and place in an authentic way.

As the world around us is affected by climate change and transitioning environments, our efforts to travel in a sustainable way become more crucial to the conservation of the beautiful wildlife and sights we encounter. By incorporating sustainability on our holidays, we can do our part in making a positive, ethical impact on local environments and communities.

Impacts of Tourism on the Environment

Unfortunately, as traveling is made easier and more countries develop tourism industries, the environment usually takes a toll. Increasing the need for resources, the consumption percentages of local products and produce, and the use of public transportation often leads to pollution and negative impacts on the ecosystem. Research in sustainable tourism has shown that many places are not equipped to efficiently conserve the environment while maintaining the influx of travelers. For example, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where water is scarce, uses 12 million litres of water per year. In the Caribbean, where tourists love to snorkel and scuba-dive, around two-thirds of coral reefs are in danger. These facts should be frightening to us; our trips, while seemingly fun for the whole family, may be damaging the world that contains our fondest holiday memories.

Photo: Dawid Zawila

Steps You Can Take to Further Sustainability

The facts of the changing environment should be kept in mind when planning your next holiday, and thankfully there are a number of solutions for a sustainable trip.

The best way to further your sustainable efforts is to begin at home. Teaching conservation to your family while at home and on holiday will spawn the next generation of sustainable travelers. By playing simple environmental games, like I-Spy to learn about new species on your trip, or trash pick-up on the beach, you can inspire your children to maintain a healthy environment. Also, it’s great fun for the whole family to keep a list or tally of all the new animals you may encounter on holiday. Your children will be the first ones to the beach in the morning, looking for tiny crabs and seagulls to add to the list. 

In addition to sharing sustainable knowledge with the family, it is important to make sure that your holiday is planned with the environment in mind, in terms of the residence you book, the activities you organize, and the items you pack. Avoiding all-inclusive resorts and restaurants that don’t use sustainable animal products are small ways you can positively impact the environment. Also, spend an afternoon volunteering in a beach clean-up or at the community park instead of going on a boat tour or shopping. This will teach your family the importance of sustainability in every new environment you encounter together.

Sustainable tourism is increasingly important in our world of shifting climates. Knowing the small steps you and your family can take while on holiday will leave a great impact in the long run, helping both the local community and conservation efforts worldwide.

Read more about teaching children the importance of fish and wildlife conservation.

Read A Complete Guide to Travel for Seniors

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.


Cruise companies have been encouraged to improve their environmental policies and introduce more clean technology. Photograph: Enrique Calvo/Reuters


Environmental standards for shipping are so low, cruise companies have a huge opportunity to improve their policies

Not many of the 25 million people enjoying the sea breeze on a cruise ship this year are likely to think about the air pollutants being emitted from the vessel.

Mostly running on heavy fuel oil, a medium-sized cruise ship produces around the same volume of air pollutants – including greenhouse gases, sulphur, nitric oxides and particulate matter – as 5m cars going the same distance, estimates the German environmental NGO Nabu.

“The standards for the shipping industry are really low compared to what we can see in road transport,” says Dietmar Oeliger, head of environmental policy at Nabu. “For a long time, politics served it well. People didn’t care about emissions on open water.”

Most countries devolve responsibility for regulating the industry to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), says Tristan Smith, shipping and climate change expert at University College London. He adds that many smaller countries do not have the resources to regulate it themselves and some choose not to restrict it – after all, the industry is a boon to local economies, bringing in tourists and providing jobs.


Read more about sustainable sea travel by following this link. By Sarah Shearman.


Sustainable Sustainability

Categories: Recommended Reading
Comments Off on Sustainable Sustainability

by Abe Peck, Travel Weekly (15 August 2016)Sustainable Sustainability t0815destinationbetter_c

“Travel is like fire. Out of control, it can wreak devastation, but if you harness that energy, it will keep you warm, enrich your life. The power of travel is an incredible force for good in the world.”

That’s how Costas Christ, director of sustainability for Virtuoso, summarized the amazing race that marks today’s travel. More people can reach more destinations in less time than ever before, yet saturating pristine places risks crushing cultures and environments. How can an industry that accounts for 5% of global carbon emissions increase responsible repeated visits? And how can sustainable travel’s financial bottom line reach the green promised land without going into the red?

Sustainable travel, defined by the U.N. World Tourism Association as “development [that] meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future,” has gained traction from the backpacking days.

In May, Mandala Research published a report titled “The Role of Sustainability in Travel and Tourism, 2016,” which posited that 60% of 2,300 U.S. leisure travelers had taken a “sustainable” trip during the previous three years. They spent an average of $600 more per outing, and they stayed seven rather than four days on trips that “bring higher benefits to local communities including job creation, giving back and volunteering.”

“Travelers are looking for authenticity,” said one of the study’s co-sponsors, Barbra Anderson, founding partner of the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based consulting firm Destination Better. “They want to go to a place where they think companies are taking care of their business and the environment.” And, she added, “sustainable travelers spend 41% more.”

One trip in three years might not seem all that frequent, and the study’s identification of eight types of responsible travel, ranging from community to geo to agri, might seem too broad to some.

But Brian Mullis, founder and CEO of Sustainable Travel International and another study co-sponsor, called the report “a huge wake-up call.” Mullis’ Portland, Ore.-area group has helped more than 100 destinations protect natural and cultural assets, and he projected that 56 million to 60 million U.S. travelers are choosing destinations and travel companies based on sustainability practices.

“This is too big to ignore,” he said.

Continue reading this enlightening article on Travel Weekly.


3 Ways to Travel Sustainably

Categories: Recommended Reading
Comments Off on 3 Ways to Travel Sustainably

What does it mean to travel sustainably

What does it mean to travel sustainably?  Beyond government and civic initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and tax rebates for green retrofitting, how can we, as individuals, give back to the planet while traveling — an activity that is reserved for the privileged, developed world? The “three pillars” of sustainability — environmental, economic and social — are commonly referenced when discussing sustainable travel.  So, that’s a start. By Daphne Stanford. Read more.



October 8 2015 – Designed to promote New York agriculture and add a bit more green space to the airport, the 24,000-square-foot T5 farm is growing produce, herbs and the same blue potatoes used to make the Terra Blues potato chips JetBlue offers year-round as complimentary snacks to passengers during flights. Harriet Baskas Read more.