Members of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association are being asked to examine their sustainability practices as part of a new initiative.
Agents should consider how they can be more sustainable in their own operations and also how they can encourage clients to make more eco friendly travel choices.
A ‘Sustainability Considerations’ document has been created to give agents a better understanding of sustainable options across the travel ecosystem and encourage them to participate in as many as possible.
The paper encourages agents to engage their teams in sustainability initiatives such as waste reduction, energy conservation and active travel.
Agents are also asked to build relationships with eco friendly hotels, tour operators and transportation providers.
It advocates the education of travellers in selecting sustainable destinations which have environmental tourism practices, which prioritise their local communities and result in minimal negative environmental impacts, according to the SPAA.
Association president Mike Tibbert said: “Every facet of the industry is moving towards achieving end to end sustainable travel.
“Our Sustainability Considerations ask our members to examine their own practices and also to educate, inform and advise their clients on sustainable options, from choosing an online brochure to ticketless booking, carbon offsetting, eco-friendly accommodation, respect for local culture and responsible wildlife watching.
“We must and we can travel smarter – and greener. We don’t have to choose between reducing our travel and meeting sustainability goals.
“Challenges such as the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel are being addressed on a national and global scale, but we can all, in our own day to day business operations, consciously choose greener options.”
He added: “There are now many options for carbon offsetting which allow clients to select a specific project they would like to support such as renewable energy, reforestation and energy efficiency projects. Initiatives like this help to connect travellers with the process of offsetting and make them feel more engaged.”
Advice on responsible wildlife tourism is a key part of the document.
Scottish travel agents are encouraged to educate travellers about interactions which can be harmful to animals in their natural environment, about unethical souvenirs such as ivory and coral and unprincipled animal performances.
Tibbert said: “We need to heighten our own and our client’s awareness of sustainable options and move to a point where we embed these throughout the entire travel experience.”