Posted by: sforshner | March 11, 2008

if tourism were a country…

Mike tipped me off to an email he received from Orbitz. It looks like they have partnered with, a not-for-profit organization that offsets travelers CO2 emissions by supporting viable renewable energy development, re-forestation projects and other initiatives focused on turning back the clock on global climate change.

On the site there was a cool article that answers my last post: Making Your Next Vacation Eco-Friendly: Tips and Advice by Jason Summer. To me, the most interesting part of the article was this – “According to the International Ecotourism Society, if tourism were a country it would have the second largest economy, eclipsed only by the United States. In 2004, there were 760 million tourist arrivals worldwide and that number is projected to reach 1.56 billion by 2020.”

Here are some excerpts that outline what we can do as a tourist to reduce our carbon footprint:

~Pack a reusable water bottle, and while you’re at it toss in some soap and shampoo. (All those hotel mini-bottles add up.)

~Make sure to get your house in order before you leave. Turn down the thermostat and water heater, and put newspaper delivery on hold.

~Whenever possible, take the train. Trains are more efficient than airplanes, and you won’t have to deal with one-hour-early check-in times and long security lines.

~If air travel is unavoidable, consider buying carbon offsets. Companies such as TerraPass, Carbon Neutral, and Carbon Fund have websites that allow you to calculate the impact of your flight, and then buy offsets to counter CO2 emissions. In turn these companies channel your money to green projects such as re-forestation, wind farms, or to help reduce the cost differential between renewable and conventional energy.

~The Leading Hotels of the World, which includes 440 properties, just launched its Leading Green Initiative where all guests’ energy consumption is offset by the hotel if you mention the program when making a phone reservation or book online at


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