Luxury travel providers have a unique opportunity to encourage sustainable travel. Here’s why.

80% of travelers surveyed by said traveling more sustainably is important to them. But 44% don’t know where to find more sustainable options.

Luxury travel providers and travel advisors sit in a unique spot here. They cater to travelers with both the desire and the means to spend more in order to travel sustainably. But at the same time, these travelers need guidance on how to choose the experiences and want to know how their funds will be used, according to a survey by Virtuoso.

What are some of the ways luxury travel providers – and luxury travelers themselves – can both encourage sustainable travel, and show they’re doing the hard work of actually living those values as a company?

Flywire clients and partners are leaders here and offer some lessons.

Travel providers that have earned B corp certifications offer compass for sustainable travel

65% of those travelers surveyed by said they would feel better about staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification or label.

The gold standard here is the certification offered by B Labs – a rigorous process that involves meeting standards and demonstrating sustainability leadership. (Check out reports of each certified B corp here). They’re weighed against several questions judging five areas: governance, workers, community, environment and customers – receiving a minimum verified score of 80 points on the assessment is also the first step towards B Corp Certification. As a point of reference, the median score for businesses that complete the assessment is 50.9, according to the B corp website.

The bar is high for certification – only about 6,000 companies globally have achieved it. That said, the number of B corps nearly doubled in 2022, with more than 2,000 getting the certification, evidence of the momentum of sustainable businesses. Globally, there are roughly 80 B corps that are in the travel industry – under accommodations and travel agencies.

What does sustainability leadership look like? Here are a few examples.

  • Trip-planning company Trufflepig, for instance, which earned an overall B Impact score of 100, talks about its Hoofprint – the way it ensures honest examination of the positive and negative impacts it has on the world. This means asking questions like: Are the people serving us being fairly employed? Do our trips degrade the very places we claim to love? Where does the money we spend actually end up?
  • Amazonas Explorer is taking all tours carbon neutral by offsetting into a carbon sink in Manu National Park in Southern Peru. It plants two trees per person per trip to make the trip carbon positive and regenerative.
  • At Frontiers North Adventures, almost ¾ of the staff is from the province of Manitoba. The company brings travelers in touch with remote regions, taking many steps to ensure there’s little footprint left on that environment. For instance, including Tundra Buggies outfitted with greywater management systems to protect the land.
  • Travel curator Up Norway is the only Norwegian travel company that has achieved B corp status. It has defined a sustainability policy – and 72% of each client’s dollar goes directly to partners – ensuring that travel is truly regenerative for the communities.
  • Vagabond Tours, a winner of Ireland’s prestigious Green Awards, provides opportunities for visitors to take in Ireland on foot, bike, horse or kayak, weaving in history and culture.
  • SA Expeditions a fully-remote organization that provides carbon neutral, high-end, private and customized travel, pioneering experiences that promote awareness and conservation.

Make it easy for travelers to take positive action at the time of booking

Travelers surveyed by (74%) want travel companies to offer more sustainable choices. Here’s one example of how travel companies can make that easier for their clients. Tomorrow's Air partners with travel companies around the world to fund climate conscious travel education and innovative solutions to remove and permanently store carbon dioxide emissions – such as the ones being developed by Climeworks. The effort was incubated by Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) – one of Flywire’s strategic travel partners. The program supports pure technological carbon dioxide removal as well as hybrid nature-technological methods to directly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it permanently.

Flywire is partnering with Tomorrow’s Air to extend this innovative program to its international client base, empowering them and their guests to take direct actions to reduce effects on the climate. Flywire’s clients can provide their travelers the option to make carbon removal contributions when they make their payment; likewise, businesses can choose to make carbon removal contributions themselves. Tomorrow’s Air makes it easy for businesses and travelers to participate in high quality, permanent solutions to climate change, and is a meaningful step towards building the next generation of conscious travelers for a more sustainable tourism industry.

“Partnering with Tomorrow’s Air gives our guests the opportunity to be active participants in exciting new climate change solutions, while still getting to do what they love,” said Kate Evans, Sales and Reservations Manager, Bella Coola Heli Sports & Tweedsmuir Park Lodge.

To learn more about Flywire and sustainable luxury travel: