Travel and the Environment: Where Two Contrasts Meet in Support of Our Planet

Travel is one of the best things we can give ourselves, supporting immersion in other cultures, long lasting life changes, expanding our knowledge of the planet and satisfying good old human curiosity. There are many remote expeditions and world circumnavigations that never would have happened without the individual desire to conquer inhospitable places and push human boundaries. Ones that often inspire others, provide significant scientific research and create everyday heroes.

The global travel industry grew by a record rate of 3.9% in 2018, continuing through 2019 according to recent statistics from the World Travel & Tourism Council. It is the second-fastest growing sector in the world behind health care. It is estimated that air travel is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse emissions, but not all travel is created equal. There are steps that both companies and individuals can voluntarily take to lessen their impact. A growing focus on responsible tourism has prompted many travel brands to expand the travel for good messaging in their brand. Other seasoned brands like ALE have long provided leadership in environmental responsibility by implementing efficient equipment at each of their Antarctic camps, providing transparency with their carbon output reports, and working with organizations like IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) and scientific research in Antarctica to support environmental conservation.

Travel can be a priceless treasure that also gives us an opportunity to learn and explore ways to contribute to environmental conservation. Part of that is educating travelers and monitoring individual strategies for operational pros and cons. Here are a few ways ALE illustrates conservation:

ALE is authorised to operate in Antarctica by US Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency and National Science Foundation. ALE fully supports the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (referred to as the Environmental Protocol). To date, 40 states have acceded to the Environmental Protocol committing to ongoing Antarctic conservation and awareness. ALE is a founding member of IAATO. Part of ALE’s brand mission is to set the highest possible environmental standards including:

ALE Dedication to the Environment:

  • Using primarily solar power
  • Removing all waste
  • Reducing residue water
  • Using efficient snow melt
  • High efficiency Toyostoves
  • Limiting flights
  • Cutting down on snow grooming
  • Using fat-tire bikes at camp in place of snowmobiles
  • Providing annual carbon output from operations

If you are concerned about your own travel impact, explore supporting charities and brands that supply remote areas with clean cook stoves, tree planting, rain forest conservation or use of alternative transportation, including human powered transportation where you can. Looking to explore more from the Environmental Protocol, explore where it started below.



* Tips from Antarctic Protocol from Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs

What Global Tourism Creates:

  • Contributes $8.8 trillion to the global economy
  • Growing faster than the global economy for the eighth successive year (3.9% for Travel & Tourism versus 3.2% for global GDP)
  • Generated 10.4% of all global economic activity
  • Contributed 319 million jobs, representing one in ten of all jobs globally
  • Is responsible for one in five of all new jobs created in the world over the last five years
  • Financial output of global spending from international tourists is 28.8% and 71.2% for domestic tourists
  • Positive economic impact in tourism areas

Inevitably there are unavoidable carbon emissions from travel, fortunately there are also more ways to lessen that. The global travel industry has shown an increased awareness of planetary conservation by supporting programs in science, education, employment, healthcare, and conservation. The first steps in creating positive impact are self-monitoring and imposing strict environmental standards where possible, something ALE takes pride in. Adventure travel is here to stay and continues to create sparks of inspiration both for those who desire to stay at home in safety and comfort and those who seek bolder exploits reaping the benefits of growth, exploration, and science.

ALE supports the beauty of Antarctica as a reserve devoted to peace and science and continues to implement high environmental standards through decades of operational experience.

Travel to any of ALE’s 5 Antarctic camps or explore one of their 26 bespoke experiences.

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