With some 1.2 billion international tourists travelling the globe in 2015, and expectations for this number to grow even larger in the coming decade, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated 2017 as the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”
“The impact of tourism on the world can be negative or positive,” Taleb Rifai, the secretary general of the UNWTO, told the New York Times in a recent article. “And our goal is to see to it that the travel industry is a force for good.”
To that end, the UNTWO has established three guiding principles for hotels, tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, and tourists:
1) Engage in environmentally-friendly practices
2) Protect natural and cultural heritage
3) Support local communities by employing local staff, buying local products, and engaging in charity work.
Of course, our ability as travelers to impact any one of these areas varies by how and where we travel, the frequency of our travel, and our general awareness of how we affect the areas we visit.
The New York Times article cited a recent study by Bookings.com which showed that 65 percent of global travelers say they “hadn’t stayed or didn’t know if they had stayed in eco-friendly accommodations.” Similarly, in a separate survey of more than 5,000 hotels, only about 25 percent reported having sustainable travel initiatives in place.
Clearly there is much work to be done, and every little bit helps.
- Cruise lines are working to reduce their carbon emissions and engage in ocean conservation initiatives.
- Airlines are striving to reduce the use of fossil fuels through efficiency and alternative fuels.
- Hotels are stepping up efforts to reuse towels and sheets and reduce water consumption.
One way Mobile Edge contributes to sustainable travel is through its line of environmentally friendly laptop bags, which leave a smaller carbon footprint than traditional bags. Each is made from either DuPont™ Sorona®, a pioneering material produced from corn stalks, or all-natural cotton canvas. The bags feature modern, contemporary styles that incorporate all the features travelers want when transporting and protecting their laptops:
- Dedicated padded compartments for laptops, tablets, and Ultrabooks
- Separate sections for files, folders, magazines, and accessories help keep gear organized and accessible.
- Rugged, yet comfortable and ergonomically friendly construction
- And, of course, a lifetime warranty.
Mobile Edge’s Eco-friendly collection offers a variety of bags and styles sure to appeal to a wide range of travelers, including Eco-Friendly Laptop Backpacks, Eco-Friendly Messenger Bags, Eco-Friendly Briefcases (including the ScanFast Checkpoint Friendly Briefcase 2.0), and Eco-Friendly Totes.
The success of an intense focus on sustainable travel is likely to be a case of “a lot of little things adding up to something big and more impactful,” says Mobile Edge President and CEO G. David Cartwright. “If all travelers were to do just one thing, such as turning off the lights in their hotel rooms, using less water to shower, reusing towels, renting fuel efficient cars or using public transportation, we might be pleasantly surprised at how much of a collective impact we can have. While no one thing in itself is that remarkable, the sum of the parts justifies the effort.”