As summertime has arrived throughout Europe, so did the peak of the holiday season, offering a chance to escape our daily routines, explore new destinations, indulge in different cuisines, and go for exciting adventures. However, it's important to recognize that travelling has a significant carbon and environmental footprint.
The tourism industry is crucial for our economies, providing one in ten jobs worldwide and contributing to 10% of the global GDP. Yet, it also has a substantial impact on the environment. According to the UN, if we continue with our current patterns, by 2050, tourism could lead to a massive increase of 154% in energy consumption, 131% in greenhouse gas emissions, 152% in water consumption, and 251% in solid waste disposal.
To address these challenges, the EMAS for Sustainable Tourism campaign has been launched to allow you to recognize those tourism accommodations that take a green step through eco-managing their business to reduce their carbon emissions, save water, reduce their waste and impact on biodiversity. Through the EMAS certification, tourism companies across various industries work towards reducing the negative effects of their operations on the environment.
Part of the EMAS for Sustainable Tourism campaign is an interactive map showcasing all EMAS-registered organisations in tourism. From travel agencies to accommodations, to tour operators and other recreational activities you can choose those companies that are registered to EMAS.
For example, one of these organisations is the Munich-based travel agency Studiosis. The agency’s vision is to foster understanding and appreciation of different countries, people, and cultures, promoting tolerance and expanding horizons. Through their travels, they strive to break down prejudices and rejection of the unfamiliar, promoting connections among people and serving as ambassadors of openness to combat xenophobia and discrimination, both at home and abroad. They believe that responsible and sustainable tourism can contribute to long-term positive change in the human rights situation.
Already EMAS-certifies since 1998, Studiosis is an old hand in environmental management. For their travels they follow the principle of "avoid before reduce before compensate" to reduce the environmental impact of their trips. Longer trips are prioritized to optimize the transportation-to-stay ratio, and flights under four days are avoided. Within Europe, the agency emphasizes bus travel and uses public transportation for city tours to further reduce emissions.
Despite efforts to minimize CO2 emissions, Studiosus relies on transportation for travel, particularly for longer distances where airplanes cannot be replaced. Therefore, the company also invests in CO2 compensation and invests in renewable energy projects in the Global South, aiming to make a long-term contribution to climate protection and support the Sustainable Development Goals. Transparency is ensured by disclosing the CO2 footprint of each trip, including the travel component, allowing customers to make informed decisions.
This is just one example of an organisation using environmental management in the tourism sector to reduce their impact on the environment. Many more organisations strive to combine unforgettable experiences with sustainable practices. Discover the network of EMAS-registered tourism organisations to travel across Europe and across the world in an environmentally conscious way and become an active participant in the pursuit of a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry.
- Publication date
- 24 July 2023
- Directorate-General for Environment