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These quick tips are designed to help you get through these hard times. If you have any tips that you want to share, send them to in a new tab)

The significant drop in levels of carbon emissions around the world has been a silver lining in the coronavirus saga. But moving forward, how can we keep this up? The state of Virginia held their Green Travel Star Awards in April 2020 which were a great reminder that the tourism industry can play an important role in the fight against climate change. Here are a few tips on how to “green” your tourism business and make the most of this growing trend.

Start Small

Making your business eco-friendly is a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. You don’t have to pull out the big guns right from the start. Start your initiative with a few small changes, like being mindful of the office supplies that you use (eco-friendly paper) and changing your light bulbs to eco-friendly models. Opt for standard coffee mugs rather than single-use, minimize your use of paper in general (or go paperless altogether), be sure to recycle, and consider an office compost bin. At the end of the day, remember to turn off or, even better, unplug electronics, lighting, and heating in order to conserve electricity. Don’t throw away old office chairs, donate them or get them fixed. And when you buy your new ones, opt for higher quality products that will last longer.

Change Your Way of Thinking

Once you’ve gathered some steam, aim a little higher. If you specialise in food tours, take your guests to restaurants and cafes that use locally sourced produce and who minimise their food waste. If you work with schools on educational trips, create a green tour by teaching students how to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle, or teaching them about green initiatives in your area. You could even be the person to set up those green initiatives and put your town on the map.

If you run multi-day tours, find eco-friendly accommodation for your guests, and look into fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicles. Additionally, now that we’ve all adapted to holding meetings on Zoom, try keeping up the web communication post-lockdown. Choose to carry out interviews and partnership meetings online, it’s a great way to reduce travel-related carbon emissions. At this point, even the big players are changing their way of thinking. For example, Park Güell in Barcelona won Gold at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2019(opens in a new tab) for dealing with over-tourism. They started a free shuttle bus service, included with the purchase of a ticket in order to reduce congestion on public transport and the roads.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the initiatives you can adopt to make your tour company greener. Using some of these ideas can give you the edge over your competitors and be a great unique selling point to promote. There’s plenty of online resources(opens in a new tab) for you to check out for guidance and inspiration so that you can continue to make these positive changes. Take the initiative and go green!

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