From Trend to Necessity: Sustainability in the Travel Industry

The travel industry is rapidly evolving, and the latest buzzword making the rounds is ‘Sustainability’. The industry has woken up to its impact. With increasing awareness of the impact of travel on the environment, the industry is seeing a shift towards more sustainable practices. As a result, companies are exploring new and innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint and promote environment-friendly initiatives. I would say, sustainability is no longer a trend, it is a necessity.

One of the biggest challenges in the travel industry is reducing the carbon emissions generated by transportation. Airlines are experimenting with alternative fuels, such as biofuels, to power aircrafts, while hotels are investing in renewable energy sources and implementing energy-saving measures.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the travel industry is also working towards reducing waste. Hotels are offering reusable amenities, for example, shampoo and conditioner bottles to minimize single-use plastic waste. Travel companies are also promoting local, sustainable tourism, encouraging travelers to support communities and preserve the environment.

Below are some of the important trends in sustainable travel:

Carbon-Neutral Travel: Many travel companies are working towards carbon-neutral travel, which involves reducing carbon emissions as much as possible and offsetting any remaining emissions through carbon offsets. Carbon offsetting is a practice in which individuals or businesses pay for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a way to compensate for their own carbon footprint.

Slow Travel: This refers to a type of travel that emphasizes taking time to explore and appreciate the journey and the destination rather than rushing from one attraction to another. It encourages travelers to slow down, take their time, and immerse themselves in the local culture, rather than simply checking off a list of popular tourist attractions.

Regenerative Travel: It is a concept that focuses on having the tourists enhance a location's condition, rather than just maintaining its current state or minimizing the harm. This involves actively working towards the restoration, rejuvenation, and development of a destination, with the aim of creating a positive impact on its environment, society, and economy, instead of just minimizing negative effects. The ultimate goal is to leave the place better than it was before the visit.

Ecotourism: This refers to responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, improves the well-being of the local people, and promotes sustainable development. Ecotourism also often involves working with local communities and organizations to develop sustainable tourism practices and protect natural resources.

Circular tourism: It is a type of sustainable tourism that aims to reduce waste, pollution, and carbon emissions by designing tourism activities and infrastructure to mimic the circular economy model. The circular economy model is a system in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible, waste is minimized, and new products are made from recycled materials. In circular tourism, this can mean implementing practices such as using renewable energy, reducing food waste, promoting local sourcing, and encouraging activities that have a positive impact on the environment and local communities. The goal is to create a tourism industry that is sustainable, responsible, and contributes to the circular economy.

Sustainable travel isn’t just good for the planet – it’s also good for business. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for sustainable travel, with travelers increasingly looking for eco-friendly options. According to many recent surveys, global travelers want to travel sustainably and would be willing to pay more for sustainable travel options. Companies that invest in sustainability are not only doing their part for the environment but also positioning themselves for future success. Climate impact is going to be a big consideration when booking a holiday. The shift towards sustainability is a moral obligation to protect our planet and there is a visible change in the mindset of travelers. Responsibility and relaxation should go hand-in-hand. By promoting sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment, companies can attract eco-conscious travelers and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Undoubtedly, the significance of sustainable travel is rising as the travel industry recognizes its influence on the environment. Regardless of whether you are an individual traveler or a travel organization, there are numerous approaches to promote sustainability in travel, such as implementing innovative technologies, minimizing waste, and supporting local communities. By working collaboratively, we can create a more sustainable future for both travel and the planet. However, it is essential for companies to avoid greenwashing their products and services. Greenwashing can deceive consumers into believing they are making an environmentally responsible decision when, in reality, the product or service may still have a substantial negative impact on the environment.


As the director of engineering in a travel technology company, I have a front-row seat to the changes happening in the industry. Our company's corporate booking platform ‘GetThere’ has seen an increase in demand for eco-friendly options, and we are taking the lead in implementing sustainable solutions. Many companies are taking bold steps towards sustainability to protect our planet. As a leader in the industry, I am proud to be a part of this movement and I am confident that together, we can make a positive impact on our planet.


Sanjeeb Patel

Sanjeeb Patel, Director Software Engineering, Sabre