According to Deloitte, gross global travel industry bookings reached $1.6 trillion in 2017, making it one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world. Indeed, if we factor in indirect economic contributions, travel and tourism now accounts for a whopping 10.2% of global GDP.
However it also has its own costs. The industry is responsible for more than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, helping to fuel dangerous climate change.
Construction of towering hotels, sprawling resorts – and, of course, the accompanying infrastructure – has, in many countries, led to the destruction of local wildlife habitat and the displacement of local people. High volumes of tourists also produce a lot of waste and put pressure on water sources.
Of course, it’s horrible to think that your holiday could be causing damage. We travel for pleasure, relaxation and adventure, not to pollute the environment and damage local ecology.
However, tourism doesn’t have to mean destruction. The growing trend of ecotourism aims to counter this harm and offer tourists a comfortable, eco-friendly stay.
The rise of ecotourism
In a study of the travel industry, consulting firm Deloitte found that the number of travellers who are aware of sustainable travel issues and – crucially – the willingness of these travellers to spend on environmentally-friendly travel has increased by a third in the last decade.
The same report points out that “95% of business travellers surveyed believe that the hotel industry should be undertaking ‘green’ initiatives and that sustainability will become a defining issue for the hospitality industry.”
And statistics from a study by the Centre for Responsible Travel back this up: hotels and tour operators around the world have been responding to this new interest in ecotourism by appointing senior management positions to oversee sustainability practices in their business operations.
Leading the pack with sustainable tourism are millennials (41% told GlobalData they are interested in booking an ecotourism holiday) making ecotourism undoubtedly the future of tourism.
But it’s not just big hotel chains or far-flung destinations that can benefit from ecotourism: 66.3 million people holiday in the UK each year, spending £21.8 billion. As with the growth of tourism in the rest of the world, inbound tourism to the UK is expected to grow at 3.8% a year to 2025.
With programmes like Springwatch and Planet Earth showcasing British wildlife, plus government data showing 2.6 billion visits to English forests or woodland areas between 2009 and 2016, and ‘rewilding’ projects in place in England, Scotland and Wales, it seems the UK is finally on the map as an ecotourism destination.
PassivPod’s role: a true ecolodge
We created PassivPod to meet the requirements of our dream ecolodge.
PassivPods are made of sustainable natural materials. They use passive solar, solar power and a wood stove to be carbon neutral in operation.
The pods include renewable energy technologies to provide power and utilise water conservation methods and rainwater harvesting so they can be entirely off-grid, so your holiday isn’t placing undue stress on local resources and making them ideal for rural hard-to-reach areas.
Moreover, their construction will bring sustainable development, jobs and income to often-disadvantaged rural areas.
Their biophilic design blends seamlessly into a natural landscape, meaning they’re perfect for sensitive sites and making it easier to get planning approval in protected natural areas. In addition to aesthetics, the biophilic design also benefits tourists’ wellbeing by connecting them with nature.
With their extensive floor-to-ceiling glazing on the southern side, balcony and optional outside hot-tub, PassivPods are ideal for a bit of luxury in areas of rich natural beauty. And as well as being used as an ecolodge, PassivPods are perfect as a wellness or yoga retreat or even a visitor centre or park office.
Our vision is for PassivPods to be rolled out in remote rural areas, allowing people to have inspiring and comfortable nature-based holidays from a zero-carbon base which enhances rather than degrades the landscape.
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