Starting this autumn, certain travel agencies’ trip information will include data on how much damage consumers’ vacations will cause to the climate, using information provided by the Dutch travel industry association ANVR through its Carmacal project. Earlier this month, Carmacal won the innovation award at WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards for 2016.
Effective integration of CO2 in tour operator decision making, next to data on turn-over, profit, customers, etcetera, requires a detailed carbon calculator that can combine CO2 data with volume and financial data. Tourists need to be able to find the accommodations with the lowest emissions, the most efficient airline or flights (on all scheduled flights), to know the emissions for a wide range of transport modes including occupation rate, to assess carbon intensive tourism activities, and be able to find the distance between any two places on the globe easily.
Current calculators fail these requirements, as they mostly do not offer more than one emission factor for accommodations, have only general emission factors for transport modes, and are frequently centered on one element of tourism: either air transport or accommodation.
With CARMACAL, tour operators will be now able to measure and manage every carbon footprint aspect of their products in detail. The carbon footprint of flights is specified up to the level of airline and type of plane, for all scheduled flights available. CARMACAL differentiates the footprint for 25 modes of transport, 21 emission-intensive activities, and gives exact distance calculations. Accommodation carbon footprints are calculated on an individual basis for some 550,000 accommodations worldwide. For other accommodations, 20 different types with individual emission factors are available.
“The ideal is that consumers can calculate their travel footprint themselves on an app or website,” explained Gerben Hardeman, manager of sustainable tourism at ANVR. “But we are not there yet. Behind the scenes we, with a group of travel companies, are examining how consumers can best inform themselves about the information we have”,
The ANVR is working with the centre for sustainable tourism and transport NHTV, Hogeschool Zeeland and about a dozen travel companies to have a reliable calculator available by autumn. Among other things, the calculator will look at the climate impact of different forms of transport and accommodation and the information will be available in travel companies’ brochures or on their website.
One of the travel companies pioneering this tool is Better Places, who this year are starting to use the Carbon Calculator to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of its trips. The company plans to offset all CO2 emissions from its products, including the flights (even though it does not sell flights, it accepts that its trips require travellers to take them). “Better Places stands for travelling with respect to nature and the local people,” explained the company’s founder Saskia Griep. “By offsetting the carbon emissions of our trips we take our responsibility and our customers can go on a holiday with a good feeling.”
Read the original article: Travellers to get climate damage rating before booking holidays – NL Times