Earth Day programs take root across travel


In honor of Earth Day, travel companies this week announced a number of initiatives to battle climate change and promote more sustainable practices amongst themselves, their guests and their partners.


Among the highlights, a new five-step Climate Action Plan from the Travel Corp., whose brands include Red Carnation Hotels, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Contiki, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold.


The goals include achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and sourcing 50% of electricity from renewable sources across the organization by 2025.


Travel Corp.'s Contiki brand for young adults is set to take the lead, with a commitment to be carbon neutral by Jan. 1. Among the steps it will take are investing in carbon credits from South Pole, the cost of which will be covered by Contiki.


Travel Corp. and its TreadRight Foundation also said they would be investing $100,000 in two nature-based, carbon-removal solutions, Project Vesta and GreenWave.


TreadRight has also launched an Impact Hub that shows the progress being made at Travel Corp. brands against the groups' previously established 11 sustainability goals. It also provides tips on how travelers can help.


"Our TTC Climate Action Plan is not marked by one quick fix, because there isn't one," said company CEO Brett Tollman. "It is marked with the need to act now, to learn and adapt as technology and innovation support our need to transition to a low-carbon business.


"There is much debate as to the right approach when it comes to decarbonizing travel and tourism, and our position is that this must be a process that begins now and commits to evolving as the solutions continue to improve and become available to us."


The Globus Family of Brands


The Globus Family of Brands has launched the Lighthouse Project. The company said its mission is to "nurture a culture of care and sustainability" among guests and partners by investing in, and raising awareness of, more than 50 projects, causes and experiences that give back to destinations.


The project, the company said, is focused on three categories: the planet, people and places.


To encourage education, awareness and support, the Lighthouse Project will place a spotlight on one organization per month, providing guests with give-back opportunities. In honor of Earth Day, the first organization to enjoy the limelight is The Ocean Cleanup.


"Every year, millions of tons of plastic bottles and other disposable products enter our beautiful oceans, mostly by way of rivers, impacting our ecosystems, our communities, and our health," said Nisbet. "The Globus family of brands is proud to partner with The Ocean Cleanup, a global nonprofit spearheading the largest plastic cleanup in history to rid our oceans and rivers of harmful pollution."


Through May, Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways will encourage guests to support The Ocean Cleanup through a monetary donation or by purchasing sunglasses made from recycled plastics culled from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


Fuel initiatives


Carnival Cruise Line on Thursday published a video that explains the environmental benefits of using liquefied natural gas to power its newest ship, the Mardi Gras.



Intrepid Travel


Intrepid Travel, long a leader in sustainable tourism, this week announced a plan to further reduce carbon emissions across its operations and trips.


Among the changes: eliminating flights under 90 minutes, where feasible, on its top itineraries by next year.


The company said that over the past year it has also introduced more than 40 low-carbon alternative tours, including closer-to-home adventures and walking and cycling trips in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. And it is switching out carbon-intensive inclusions for more sustainable activities on a number of its tours.


"While reducing our carbon footprint has been a priority of our company for years, decarbonization is becoming increasingly central in our product design now. As an industry, we must look beyond offsetting, advocacy and administrative green practices to focus on where we can have the most positive impact: our trips," said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.


Exodus Travel


Likewise, Exodus Travel announced an expansion of itineraries that use train travel rather than flights on its escorted tours in Europe.


The company said North Americans can access the trips by flying into London. With the expanded train offerings, Exodus said, a third of all of its trips can now be booked without any additional flights required from the U.K.


Exodus also recently partnered with Rewilding Europe to establish the Nature & Carbon Corridors project and rewild 100 square meters of the Italian Apennines for every passenger. This project aims to rewild 5,000 hectares of the Italian Apennines over the course of five years to promote recovery of regional biodiversity.


Lindblad Expeditions


Lindblad Expeditions will celebrate Earth Day by honoring what it calls "the Restorers," individuals and organizations "who do the hard work of Earth restoration 365 days a year." The company said its goal is to showcase and amplify the voices of those who are committed to climate action, food sustainability and ocean conservation. Lindblad will spotlight them on a special Earth Day landing page and feature them and their work on Lindblad's social channels. Lindblad is also taking nominations of other people and groups that should be spotlighted on its Earth Day Wall of Fame website.


Donation programs from Preferred, Hurtigruten, Hopper


Preferred Hotel Group, which operates Preferred Hotels & Resorts and the Beyond Green sustainable hotel network, unveiled I Prefer Points for Good.


The initiative allows members of Preferred's I Prefer loyalty platform to donate their points at cash value to the Ocean Heroes Network, a nonprofit that equips young people with the tools and training needed to become ocean health advocates.