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Why Sustainability In Travel Is An Important Business Model

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Why Sustainability In Travel Is An Important Business Model

While most people are very interested in sustainability in their travelers, many don’t know where they can personally make a difference. And really, where it all starts, is by choosing a company that actively promotes and supports sustainability in all facets. Travelers purchasing decisions make a big difference—where their money goes can impact entire communities and environmental policies.

Post-pandemic, the travel industry as a whole is seeing a surge of travelers with an interest in sustainability.

This is especially seen in the cruise industry. An industry that was hit hard by covid, and also an industry that can play a big role in sustainability practices.

In the past, cruises have not always been known for their environmental practices, but this is changing. “Wherever human activity exists in the world, there is always some degree of impact, but we believe that if we can expose people to the wonders of the world, we help them appreciate and develop a sense of their connection to this place – creating a reverence, respect, and responsibility for its preservation,” says Amy Berquist, Vice President, Conservation, Education, and Sustainability for Lindblad Expeditions.

Cruising and the Environment

The impact of cruising on the environment is now part of the travel decision. Many cruise lines must rely on support from local infrastructures in their ports of calls when it comes to making sustainable choices.

For example, those responsible for the vessels have control over everything that is purchased and supplied to the ships, as opposed to land operators, who must rely on hundreds of different hotels, resorts, and restaurants over the course of programming.

The cruise industry must also adhere to a variety of local, regional, and international regulations, which differ from location to location. Some companies meet the requirements and others strive to exceed the requirements when feasible and go above and beyond as part of the commitment to a more sustainable future.

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This may not be unique to cruise lines, but rather a movement that is pervasive across the travel sector; however, for those travelers who choose a ship-based experience, there is absolutely a new interest in and focus on sustainable practices. “Though Lindblad’s guests have always expressed an interest in responsible travel, since the pandemic we are now witnessing a widening circle of consumers who care about sustainability,” says Berquist. “In fact, in an effort to meet consumers interested in sustainability, we published guides for travel advisors to share with their clients when choosing a sustainable travel company.”

Cruising and Food Sourcing

Lindblad has developed a positive reputation for their environmental practices around food sourcing, both through a sustainable seafood program, and through the provisioning of local produce from farmers and growers in the regions they travel.

They work with locals in ports of call to improve infrastructure that directly affects the ability to make sustainable choices when provisioning ships and sharing best practices. “Our company is 100% carbon neutral, we have phased out single use plastics onboard, only use the cleanest burning fuel available (low sulfur marine gas oil) and are actively taking steps to monitor our impact and make changes, such as switching from Velcro jackets to zippered ones, so as to not inadvertently introduce non-endemic seeds to delicate ecosystems like Antarctica,” says Berquist.

“Sustainability has become a more mainstream idea in people’s consciousness; we’ve reacted to that by formally publishing our approach into an easily-digestible format for our land-based partners, encouraging them to align with our commitment and approach to sustainability while also creating a dialogue which allows us to grow and learn best practices from them too.”

Looking to the Future of Sustainability

Looking ahead, Lindblad is seeking to expand their Visiting Scientist program aboard ships to new regions, going beyond the Southern Ocean where the program launched. They are also opening new regions to Pre-K—12 grade teachers traveling as part of the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, which is a professional development opportunity made possible by a partnership between Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Education.

“As a company, we believe that operating with a sustainable mindset must be at the heart of our operations because it has the power to bring positive impacts to the environment and communities around the world,” says Berquist. “We have seen first-hand that travelers whose experiences are rooted in responsible care for the planet often become stewards for our planet, bringing voice to critical topics and issues.” Sustainability is baked into the Lindblad DNA, and has been a foundational part of the business model since Lars-Eric Lindblad took the first travelers to places like the Galápagos Islands and Antarctica in the 1960s.

“We also have a team specifically devoted to sustainability, and they focus on three key areas: Conservation & Environment; Community & Culture; and Science & Education,” says Berquist. “Projects and initiatives are designed around pioneering responsible travel experiences and green business practices; investing in the people who live in the places we explore; and offering our ships as a platform for research and learning.”

The travel industry has so much potential to move the needle in a positive direction for environments and communities, especially if more travel companies adopt green and sustainable practices in meaningful ways.

#Sustainability #Travel #Important #Business #Model

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