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Tips for reducing the environmental impact of your holiday

As the Duke of Sussex helps launch a global project to make the tourism industry become more sustainable, charity WWF has some tips for greener trips.

Avoiding plane trips is one way to have a more sustainable holiday (Peter Byrne/PA)
Avoiding plane trips is one way to have a more sustainable holiday (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent

The Duke of Sussex has launched an ambitious global project to encourage the tourism industry to become more sustainable.

So what can people do to make sure their trips are as environmentally friendly as possible? Conservation charity WWF has some tips for reducing the impact of your holiday.

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The Duke of Sussex during the launch of the Travalyst initiative ,which he hopes will improve conservation and environmental protection (Gareth Fuller/PA)

– People are encouraged to look into their travel options and try to choose the most environmentally friendly form of transport possible, such as taking public transport instead of driving or flying, and trying to avoid plane trips, especially short-haul flights.

If flying is unavoidable, travellers should choose airlines with higher occupancy rates and more efficient aircraft.

– If you fly, you can “offset” your emissions. WWF warns “we cannot offset our way out of a climate emergency” but it is possible to compensate from greenhouse gas emissions from travel by buying carbon offsets, which pay for schemes that reduce pollution elsewhere.

If you choose that option, the conservation charity recommends Gold Standard carbon credits which offer permanent emissions reductions and ensure sustainable development benefits for local communities.

– Travellers can reduce their impact on the environment by choosing “green” hotels, tour operators and suppliers that support sustainable development, do not harm the environment and provide financial support to local communities.

This can include finding places to stay that use renewable energy, recycle or were built using renewable materials, and choosing tours which protect wildlife and employ local guides who are familiar with regional laws and customs.

– Be careful with plastic: WWF warns that each year more than eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean, harming habitats and nature, and most of it comes from single-use plastics such as water bottles and carrier bags.

To cut your impact when you travel, you can carry a reusable water bottle, choose locally filtered water where possible and carry your own tote bags for shopping.

– Shopping carefully is important, as some products, such as snake wine, tortoiseshell accessories, shells and coral jewellery, ivory, or furs are made from protected or endangered species and can be illegal to export or import.

They can also be the products of poaching, so it is recommended you ask questions before buying or just avoid the purchase altogether.

– Environmentally friendly travellers can also avoid damaging recreational activities such as sports which have a significant impact on the environment or ones which exploit animals, such as elephant rides or the opportunity to “pet” tigers.

On the other hand, there are recreational activities which do not pollute or use energy such as kayaking, cycling and hiking, which can also take you off the beaten track.

PA

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