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Destinations International Newsbrief - Sustainable Tourism

Jun 6, 2023

Destinations International shared an article in their newsletter from The Next Web, titled 3 Ways Tourism Businesses Can Use Tech to Reduce Their Carbon Emissions. NYSTIA summarized this article to help in your sustainability efforts.  

The UNWTO define sustainable tourism as: Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.

Why is this important? In 2021, reported that 83% of business and leisure travelers worldwide believe that sustainable tourism is vital. 

"The emergence of new sustainability tech is helping usher in this new era of sustainable, eco-conscious tourism by offering innovative solutions that can be adopted by both large and small-scale businesses."

Eliminating Food Waste 

  • Approximately a third of food produced for human consumption is wasted 
  • In 2019, 931 million tons of food was wasted 
    • 39% came from food services and retail (including hotels, cruises, etc)
  • Food waste accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions creating $940 billion in economic loss
  • For every $1 a hotel/restaurant invests in food waste programs they save an average of $7 in operating costs
  • Grand Hyatt Singapore converted 1,000 kg of food waste into fertilizer they use on their property and ended up saving $100,000/yr
  • Benchmark - track your waste to see what you can improve 
  • Optimize - what tools or programs can you implement to mitigate your waste 
  • Donate - look into programs that you can donate excess food to in your local community 

Introducing green utilities 

  • Upgrade and replace appliances to more cost efficient and eco-friendly options (heating and cooling, water supplies, and electricity) 
  • Renewable energy resources such as solar panels and hydro power can reduce your carbon footprint while saving you money 
  • Rain water harvesting system 
  • High performance glass that lets in natural light but reduces solar heat
  • Digestor for composting 
  • Recyclable water system 
  • Benchmark - track your current systems to find improvements 
  • Optimize - replace or upgrade old appliances and systems
  • Invest - investing in these new systems might cost more than the alternative but in the long run they will end up saving you money and help to reduce your carbon footprint 

Using AI to reduce travelers carbon footprint 

  • AI is a helpful tool to track and estimate emissions and is a great help when trying to pick the most eco-friendly option 
  • Many airlines have a system that calculates the estimated carbon emissions of a trip and then have an voluntary offset program for their travelers
  • There is a AI technology called Meetingselect that helps to determine the best place to meet based off the emission estimate of all the people going to that event
  • GoogleFlights for example has the emissions estimates on each flight so that the traveler can pick based off of that factor 
  • Getting an accredited sustainability certification is also a way to help optimize the search for sustainable accommodations 

The common theme we see when talking about a plan to implement more sustainability practices into your organization is to audit yourself and collect data on your current practices. Once those areas are identified, look into how you can optimize and improve those areas. Do regular audits to keep up with improvements but also to track your savings!