The most influential sustainable travel trends of 2019 (besides Greta Thunberg)

Whether you agree or disagree with Greta Thunberg, there’s hardly a chance you could have ignored her call to action this year. And if you did, US President Donald Trump made sure the teen and her message reached headlines. Greta’s environmental movement gathered steam in 2019 and her travels have inspired many to opt for sustainable travel options in the past year.

Here are three trends the sustainable travel sector has seen in 2019 which we are expecting to see again in the coming year.

 1. Flygskam” 

In 2019, we’ve become more aware of our carbon footprint when traveling. So much that “Flygskam”, a new Swedish word was coined, which translates as flight shame. It refers to feeling shame for flying based on airplane emissions and people’s increasing responsibility to opt for sustainable travel and means of transportation with lower carbon emissions. With her European train rides and cross-Atlantic sailing trips, Greta has certainly motivated this trend.

Flygskam, the new concern of the sustainable traveler

Richard Lindberg, our CEO, is often questioned about the stance of One Planet Rating when it comes to flying. Here is his nuanced vision of flygskam:

“With 10 years of sustainability experience I’m acutely aware of the dangers of climate change and how the airline industry contributes. The figure is around 5-8 % of global emissions and is projected to grow as air travel becomes more affordable. While emissions from airlines must come down, we don’t believe in personal shaming. Every person has different life situations and reasons to fly. Lifestyle changes will play a part but airlines simultaneously need to lower emissions and shift to biofuels and later on electrification”.

2. Measures to counter “Overtourism”

According to UK tour company Responsible Travel, overtourism is an issue affecting six out of the seven continents. They’ve compiled a list of places suffering from overtourism in an interactive map that can be accessed here.

Measures to counter overtourism and improve sustainable travel

To tackle overtourism, we have witnessed an emerging trend this year which involved charging a fee to tourists in places where tourism has exceeded a tipping point. Venice, for instance, is set to charge day-trippers fees as high as €10 to enter its historic centre in the peak season (starting July 1st 2020). 

3. “Slow Travel” 

Slow travel is a shift from the typical frantic exploration of a holiday destination. It promotes a slower pace and a focus on the journey as well as the destination. Think leisure walks, flexible itineraries and more open schedules.

slow travel - the new ideal for the sustainable traveler

While slow travel does include taking slower modes of transportation, the chosen mode of transport is not essential. Slow travel is more about changing one’s mindset when traveling and being a more mindful, sustainable traveler. It is about exploring destinations, enjoying every moment and indulging in the local culture, without stress.

Want to know more? Read our guide on slow travel.


Finally, here’s a message from us,
2019 has been a transitionary year for One Planet Rating, where we have focused a lot on behind the scenes technical overhaul of databases, backend and frontend to be able to make sure we have a scalable platform that can handle massive amounts of data and load fast in less connected areas. We changed data sources which has also meant a new architecture. All the while we have invited in more beta testers and our aim is to massively scale up the number of invited testers in early 2020 where we also are going to expand our blog and content services. Also look out for some very exciting campaigns on topical issues in sustainability and travel. Be on the look out for our newsletter and special invitations to try new features and offers from partners.
Happy Holidays!
The One Planet Rating Team
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