CO² and Tourism; we hear a lot about it, but what’s happening?
The tourism sector simply is an energy intensive industry. Most of us have a strong interest in traveling or need to travel workwise. Traveling is one of the most fulfilling and relaxing activities we can think of and most of you share this opinion with us. With all our travels we produce a lot CO² in the air. The tourism sector accounts for 8% of the total CO² emissions worldwide. That is immense!
The carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO²) released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization or community. By releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we have an impact on the environment, causing climate change. CO² is related to the emissions of all greenhouse gases we produce. For example: production, transport, heating and of course making energy from fossil fuels. Global warming is one of the consequences attributed to the increasing amount of CO² emissions. Our climate is changing and this is a threat to humans and nature. The carbon footprint for accommodations can be explained as the carbon dioxide emissions in kg per guest/night or per room/night.
The biggest part of the carbon emissions is caused by travel itself. The transport to and from your destinations are the main causes of the CO² output, they hold 75% off all emissions. Respectively, air travel is responsible for 40%, while coach and rail are ‘only’ responsible for 13%.
The accommodation sector accounts for approximately 20% of emissions in the tourism sector. This involves heating, air-conditioning and the mainteance of bars, restaurants, pools and so on. Clearly, this varies according to the location and size of the accommodation, as well as the type of establishments – hotels having greater energy consumption than pensions or camping sites.
How does it work at bookdifferent.com?
At bookdifferent.com we show of each accommodation the carbon footprint to make to help you to book the greenest option. This carbon footprint tells you how much carbon one night per guest has been produced when staying there. We know that price and location are very important but because we have such a wide offer we are pretty sure that you can find on that has a low carbon footprint and fulfils your wishes regarding price and location. If you choose a hotel with a green foot the footprint is less than 10 kg per night and with this a sustainable choice.
At bookdifferent.com we use a mathematical formula to calculate the carbon footprint per guest per night. This formula is developed by the Breda University of Applied Sciences (NHTV) in cooperation with BookDifferent and the Dutch tourism sector as a part of the ‘Carbon management for tour operators’ (CARMATOP) project.
This statistical formula has defined a number of features of hotels, such as the number of stars and services offered like saunas, swimming pools and air-conditioning that correlate with the average carbon emissions of accommodations. Furthermore, the results are adjusted for climatic conditions and the characteristics per country in the world.
The carbon footprint measurement in regards to accommodation is still in its infancy. The generated numbers are an estimate. Therefore, in a number of cases, this value will be higher or lower than in reality. However, the probability that an accommodation with a very high carbon footprint actually has a very low carbon footprint (or vice versa) is low. It goes without saying that we are working very hard to promptly replace these estimated values in the shortest possible time for actual values.
It goes without saying that if a hotel request for help for calculating its carbon footprint that we help the owners of the accommodation to do so.
What can you do about your CO² emissions?
Ultimately real change will come from implementing regulations and incentives together to encourage low-carbon operations. At a personal level, there are multiple options for reducing your co2 footprint, for one you can live car free, fly less and even decide to have one kid less (just kidding). But if we all use common sense in our day to day lives there are so many things you can do that doesn’t take a lot of effort! Here are some tips for you:
1. Use public transport
If you are going on a short distance trip consider taking the train. You can save up to 73 % of the CO² emissions you would cause by traveling with your car. (It is also much more fun to use public transport to discover the city, get in with the locals!)
2. Save energy
Try to avoid using the air-conditioning in your room and if you really need it make sure your window is closed when using. And other tip is to turn off the lights in your hotel room when you are leaving it for dinner.
3. Recycle and re-use.
There are so many things from plastic in this world and all what we can avoid using or buying helps in bringing back you CO² output. Large amounts of energy and water go into producing endless amounts of ‘stuff’, much of which we don’t really need or end up using. Wonder yourself if you really need this and if you buy it recycle and reuse as much as possible. For example, don’t buy plastic bottles, but just buy one reusable one and use this the whole trip!
4. Buy from locals
Food miles are now firmly part of the new carbon lingo. This is a way of expressing how far an item of food has travelled before it reaches your dinner table, and therefore how much CO² has been emitted during freighting. A good rule is to buy something that has been produced locally, it will usually have a lower CO² tag attached to it. Your local fresh food market is a good place to start for your food shopping. You even contribute to the local economy!
5. Become more aware of your carbon footprint.
There are more and more companies wanting you to become aware of your carbon footprint when traveling. Start by booking you accommodation at bookdifferent.com to get a clear image of your CO² emissions overnight!