The Costs of EcoTourism to the consumer

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Nowadays as eco-tourism has become a new trend, travelers have started debating the seemingly high costs of such tourism.

Does traveling green necessarily mean we have to pay more? Nowadays as eco-tourism has become a new trend, travelers have started debating the seemingly high costs of such tourism.

“I vote for green travel, but if it’s more expensive that way, then I would probably reconsider it.”

Such was the concern voiced by many individual travelers and international leaders at this year’s Copenhagen Climate Summit.

Where does the extra money go during an eco-trip? And how do we avoid overspending? Here are some tips that we can share with you.

Air Passenger Duty

Will eco-tourism save money or add extra costs to our trip? For insight, let’s look at the changes made by the UK Government on Air Passenger Duties (APD).

APD is an excise tax levied by the UK government that came into effect on November 1, 1994. It is charged on the carriage of chargeable passengers flying from a United Kingdom airport on chargeable aircraft.

The UK government has justified the hikes in APD primarily on environmental grounds. The APD doubled in February 2007 and rose again in November 2009. The next increase will take effect this November when passengers flying to the United States must pay 60 pounds in tax (a 50-percent increase), while those flying to the Caribbean will pay 75 pounds(an increase of 87.5 percent).

Carbon Offsets Purchase

With an aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the term “carbon neutral” has come into focus recently. But it also entails higher costs for travelers. Companies offer customers the option of buying so-called “carbon offsets” to counter the planet-warming emissions generated by their airline flights. But as of yet there is still no common standard on carbon offsets purchases. That is to say, each company may have its own method of charging carbon offsets and will offer various prices and different projects.

The Prime Price of the Eco-Hotels

The hospitality industry is also facing price increases in the name of environmental protection. Let’s take Marmadukes, a famous boutique hotel in Yorkshire, England, as an example.

Marmadukes is famous for its gorgeous Victorian architecture and delightful original features. Even though it is a three-star hotel, Marmadukes is more expensive than some nearby five-star hotels.

According to Eric, a traveler, this is because Marmadukes passes on the increased costs of environmental protection to its guests. But some hotels disagree with this assertion.

URBN Hotels in the heart of Shanghai is Asia’s first carbon neutral hotel. As soon as it opened in 2007, the hotel started calculating the carbon footprint of its emissions and purchased carbon credits to offset them.

“We will not shift the expenses onto our consumers because such a practice will not bring us fine reputation,” the hotel’s former manager said.

As we mentioned above, eco-trips indeed hike the costs of traveling. But for some travelers, the extra expenses spent on flights and hotels can be compensated during other parts of their trip. For example, you can choose to travel on foot or by bicycle rather than by taking a taxi or driving yourself. These options are the best low-carbon ways to travel, and you don’t have to pay more for your environmental guilt.

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