For TTG’s responsible tourism-themed March issue, a range of experts explain why sustainability and equality in travel are more important than ever as the world emerges from the Covid-19 crisis…
Sustainability is a buzzword on everyone’s lips these days, but what does it mean for us travel agents?
After all, many of our products involve our clients taking long, highly polluting flights, and many previously remote destinations are seeing irreversible change to their environment and communities.
When I approached Swords Travel owners Mark and Stuart and asked if I could investigate how we as a company could promote sustainability, they jumped at the chance. Like me, they were unsure of how it fully impacts us and how we conduct our business.
It did not take me long to find the Oxford Offsetting Principles. Carbon accounting and offsetting is easy to communicate to clients and simple to implement – both key to ensuring the success of any sustainability policy.
Pairing with accredited carbon offsets meant we could work towards offering our clients a carbon-neutral holiday.
And so the Swords Travel Sustainability Pledge was born: to make our core business activities carbon neutral, and to fully account for our supply chain so our carbon footprint is transparent.
Working closely with partners that also have strong sustainability policies, like G Adventures, easyJet and Virgin Voyages, we will ensure our clients are offered the most sustainable holidays available, and they can identify our “most sustainable” partners through a new logo and score.
We will also be creating the Swords Travel Offset Fund, contributing £5 from every booking to a fund that we will spend on carbon offsetting projects. We aim to have all processes in place by 22 April 2021 – Earth Day.
Ian Weir is a luxury travel associate at Swords Travel.