Reducing Carbon Emissions from Guest Travel

Photo of bike to work week for Green Tourism Canada Active Transportation Blog Sustainable Tourism

Does it matter how your guests arrive? They made it to your  location, they are enjoying their experience, so why should it matter? In the end, guests will still enjoy what you offer, but what if there were a few things  you could do to start shifting their perspective on how they travel to you?

A recent Travelocity study showed that 2/3 of travellers are going to make eco-friendly travel choices in the next year.  This statement doesn’t just include where they choose to travel to, but how they get there. So making a few changes at your tourism related business might be something to put on the priority list.

Businesses who decide to have a Sustainable Tourism assessment to find out what additional sustainable and green tourism activities they can do and to gain credibility for what they are already doing are awarded points for their actions. When it comes to travel and transportation, we look at the types of policies and procedures you have in place to promote alternative modes of transportation to your guests and staff. Besides being cycling and walking friendly, having information about local transit, being near transit routes and having an anti-idling policy, some businesses may work towards going above and beyond with staff and guest travel incentives. This could be in the form of offering discounts to guests who arrive by bus, bike or train, or a reward for not using a parking space.

For staff, we have worked with hotels and other companies that have a monthly draw for things like coffee shop gift certificates, merchandise or gift cards. Staff enter the draw each time they take alternative modes of transportation like cycling, walking or taking transit to work. This draw got more people to try “leaving the car at home” because there were only a few regulars that cycled or walked to work on a daily basis who were always winning! The odds of winning can be extremely high, so it makes it worth giving it a try. Plus, it’s Bike to Work Week across BC at the end of May and there are incredible prizes and events for teams that participate. One or two keeners from each workplace register a team and get a prize kit, a t-shirt and heaps of ideas on how to engage staff to cycle to work. Then you encourage people, give our rewards before, during and after and can even attend events scheduled in your city. These events often offer free coffee, breakfast or snacks, prize draws for new bikes and other awesome local stuff and make for a really fun start to the morning. You can register or find out more at www.biketowork.ca.

Many people are fair-weather cyclists, so when it isn’t so sunny and warm out, you can always offer free bus passes to staff or take part in a car-share program. In Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and a growing number of communities in BC, Modo Co-Op offers workplace memberships so your employees can use Modo cars parked around the city to run errands or attend meetings.  Sometimes employees need to do some running around during the day which requires a vehicle, and the membership eliminates the need to drive themselves to work just for that reason.

And, to wrap up your transportation opportunities in a nice tidy bow, you can even calculate your guest’s transportation emissions through a carbon offsetting calculator. We like Offsetters, a Vancouver-based carbon reduction and offsetting company. Their online calculator can help you to measure flight or vehicle emissions and allow your guests to purchase carbon offsets online to make their trip to and from your business carbon neutral.

So does it matter how they got to you? Only if furthering your sustainability journey is important to you, because it is important to the majority of travellers.