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5 innovative ideas for sustainable travel

Travel & Tourism

With World Tourism Day in mind, we’re sharing the top sustainable travel innovations we’ve spotted in recent months

As warnings grow direr concerning the global climate emergency, recognition is expanding regarding the impact that travel and tourism have on our environment.

According to a recent study by the University of Sydney, global tourism accounts for 8 per cent of total carbon emissions, which was three times higher than expected. This is just one of many sobering statistics that continue to shed light on the many causes contributing to climate change. 

Thankfully, we continue to spot innovations aiming to combat travel and tourism’s negative effect on our planet, including cleaner modes of transport and sustainable vacation rental platforms. With World Tourism Day in mind, here are our top innovations from recent months that are helping make travel greener.

Photo source June Tong

Arctic Thermal Baths Powered By Waste From Cruise Ships

June Tong, an Architecture student from The Royal College of Art in London, developed a proposal for an arctic-based thermal bath powered by the waste from cruise ships. 

The project, called “In Murky Waters,” was designed for a small coal-mining town in Longyearbyen, Norway. The town, once dependant on coal-powered energy as a main economic driver, now relies on cruise-based tourism. However, cruise ships also take a significant environmental toll, as the waste they expel contributes to the melting of Arctic ice. 

Read more about this sustainable thermal bath concept. 

Photo source AccorHotels

Sustainable, Modular Hotels Travel With Guests 

Imagine a hotel room that can follow businesses, festivals or sporting events almost anywhere in the world. French hotel group AccorHotels developed the Flying Nest – a hotel that can travel. 

The modules have also been designed with sustainability in mind, including the use of fair trade amenities, environmentally certified paint, wood cladding from environmentally-managed forests, LED lighting and the use of green energy and grey water recovery.

Read more about Flying Nest modular hotels

Photo source Linh Nguyen on Unsplash

Fairbnb Promises A Sustainable, Short-term Rental Platform

Fairbnb is launching a platform for short-term rentals aimed at helping local communities. The platform plans to work with neighbourhoods to make short-term rentals sustainable. Like Airbnb, Fairbnb is a virtual meeting place for hosts and guests to connect. Unlike Airbnb, the cooperative says that it is focused on sustainable tourism rather than profit. 

Read more about Fairbnb

Photo source Pixabay

An All-electric Passenger Plane

Israeli startup Eviation recently sold its first batch of electric, short-haul passenger planes to US regional airline Cape Air. The planes are battery-powered, can carry nine passengers and can travel for 650 miles at a cruising speed of 240 knots (276 mph). The line is expected to be on the market in 2022.

Read more about these battery-powered aeroplanes. 

Photo source Yolanda Sun on Unsplash

App Streamlines City Transportation 

A Finnish startup created an app that coordinates all forms of city transportation into a single platform, potentially providing a single solution for all transportation needs. The Whim app eliminates the need for different passes and tickets. Instead of juggling each service’s payment service, users opt for different subscriptions.

The goal is to simplify travel and to make commutes “eco trips not ego trips,” according to Whim founder Sampo Hietanen. More access to alternative forms of transportation means “less traffic, less pollution, less stressful journeys,” Hietanen said.

Read more about the Whim app.