Inspired by data from Sustainable Travel International, we have put together key facts on how traveling creates emissions. Many more points can be added, but these are some facts we want you to consider for future trips.
- Transport is accountable for almost half (49%) of tourism’s carbon footprint. This includes flights, helicopters, boats, taxi rides, etc. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses that are generated by actions.
- Infrastructure generates emissions. When infrastructure and facilities are built to support tourism services, this construction creates emissions. When areas including forests, mangroves, or other ecosystems are cleared and destroyed for construction, it additionally releases vast amounts of emissions.
- Accommodations generate high emissions since they rely heavily on lighting, cooling, and heating and use vast amounts of water for cleaning, guest showers, etc. Accommodations often also rely on supply chains to be able to serve food, etc.—all factors contributing to the generation of emissions. As we can’t underline enough, this is why choosing to stay in accommodations with eco-certificates that reduce the use of resources makes an actual difference when you travel.
- Meals. Tourist meals create emissions in general, but especially when they are highly meat-based or have been imported. When food is wasted, the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it is also wasted. Food waste further increases emissions when it goes to the landfill and rots, producing methane.
- Waste. Tourists produce waste and often rely heavily on single-use plastic products made from fossil fuels (primarily oil and gas). Extracting and transporting fuels to produce plastic creates enormous amounts of greenhouse gas. The single-use plastic items are most often not recycled or reused.