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Booking Sites
for Sustainable Travel: Vol. 1

Sustainability is rapidly becoming the new standard in environmentally friendly practices. The ratio of travelers that want to make a positive impact through their travel-related purchasing decisions is steadily increasing. According to a 2019 study by the leading travel booking platform Booking.com, nearly three-quarters (72%) of travelers said that people must act now to save the planet for future generations. 

 The United Nations Intergovernmental Climate Change Panel (IPCC), issued a report  in October of 2018, which states that the world needs to limit global warming to pre-industrial levels of 1.5°C within just over a decade, and floods and droughts beyond that. The report insists that there is a risk of extremely high temperatures. It can be said then,  that the increased awareness of the environment among travelers is a change in consciousness based on the climate situation of the global environment.

It’s not a surprise then, to plan one’s own sustainable journey or look at the websites of hotel and tour companies to see if they are really sustainable.  In order to make sustainable travel and tourism searches easier, several sites exist which are dedicated to information sharing and booking possibilities for eco and sustainable tourism.

For those interested in eco-friendly and sustainable travel, that would like to stay in an environmentally-friendly eco-lodge or eco-hotel, or select fun eco-tours, these sustainable-focused booking sites may be good to visit while doing your pre-trip research.

We are introducing 6 booking sites which make reservations for eco and sustainable tourism options for the traveller that wishes to travel in sustainable style. In this article, part 1 of the 2-part piece, we will be introducing 3 out of the 6 of these options. Keep reading below to discover booking sites for eco and sustainable tourism options!

I Like Local


I Like Local is a Netherlands based social venture booking site that was founded in 2013 which specialises in local activities. It is intended to provide travelers with a unique local activity experience and works to provide a direct income to locals in Asia and Africa.

I Like Local cites a strong belief that organizations and companies need to change from profit-maximising businesses into businesses that strike a proper balance between profit-generation and social/environmental value creation. An increasing number of travelers are looking for genuine local travel experiences that are more personal and not for the mass-tourism market. 

Traditional sightseeing tours do not allow locals to make much profit from their country’s tourism. According to the United Nations Environment Program, for every $100 spent on holidays from developed countries, only about $5 is actually spent at the destination.

Taking this into consideration, I Like Local helps travelers find and book real local travel experiences easily and quickly while providing a source of income for locals and promoting cultural understanding and communication. 

I Like Local has set the rates based on the idea that the income of the local host is secured firmly. The local hosts set the price, which they receive 100% of. I Like Local makes the money to continue their operations by attaching a fee of 20% of the price that the locals set, to the purchase price. For example; if the locals wanted to charge 20 for an activity, I Like Local would add 20% to that price, making it 24. The locals would get exactly what they asked, 100% of the 20, and I Like Local would take the 20% or the 4 which they added to it. I Like Local prides themselves on the transparency of their pricing.

As of June 2020, the areas handled by I Like Local are destinations throughout Africa and Asia.

Asia: Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyz, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam

Africa: Gambia, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda

The categories are as follows: 

  • Home stay
  • Farm stay
  • Art & Culture
  • Trek and Tour
  • Food Experience
  • Volunteering
  • Lodge & Camp
  • Virtual Experience

I Like Local is one of 10 sustainable tourism startups funded by the 2019 Booking.com Booster Program. In addition, it is a featured reservation site featured in publications such as Forbes, BBC, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Cosmopolitan and more than 70 media.

Bookdifferent.com


Travel is great. However, it is also true that traditional tourism has an impact on the environment. That’s why Bookdifferent.com was founded in 2012 in the Netherlands with the desire to help people choose better travel options.

With more travelers becoming aware of sustainable travel and becoming more interested in how to measure sustainability, this social enterprise has stated that sustainable travel can be an ‘economic driver for businesses around the world’. Book Different prefers to offer simple and easy-to-understand information to users based on data and facts, making it possible for users to make truly green choices. 

Bookdifferent.com is able to confirm if the accommodation is a sustainable accommodation in terms of being recognized by eco-labels such as Green Destinations, which have been successful in evaluating their destinations for sustainability performance. These ecolabels are publicly available standards which are limited to those that have third-party audits and onsite assessments.

Each eco-certified hotel is given a Stay Green Check score based on performance in these four pillars of sustainability:

1.Management

Effective sustainable management and compliance with law

2.Fair & local

Fair and equal treatment for employees and destinations

3. Culture friendly

Respect for local traditions

4. Nature and environment

Take care of mother earth

The Bookdifferent.com site also provides sustainable travel information relevant to the destination. This information ranges from organic and zero-waste restaurants to tours and activities that direct profits back into the local community.

Zerobnb


Zerobnb was founded by NESTE in Finland.  Neste was announced as the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, on International Day of Climate Change 2018.

Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation sharing site, seems to have been missing one very important category: sustainable accommodation! The Zerobnb site is unique in that it is focused strictly on sustainable vacation homes. It’s available for a limited time only until Airbnb creates its own sustainable category.

The Zerobnb project is part of Neste’s Journey to Zero initiative and focuses on finding sustainable solutions.

The site is succinct, but includes a short video appealing to Airbnb, “Why can’t you search on the axis of sustainability!” The selection is a collection of the sustainable accommodations listed on the Airbnb site, and put together in a way that those searching for sustainable Airbnb options can find them with ease on the Zerobnb site.

The good thing about all of these listing sites is that they carefully identify sustainable eco-hotels and eco-tour companies, and publish them exclusively. Thus, making it easier for the sustainable minded traveller to find everything they are looking for with ease. 

These listed websites for information and reservations have fulfilled a need in the ecotourism market by bringing these sustainable accommodation and activity options to the forefront by making eco-friendly travel searches easier and more accessible.


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