With a world growing more concerned about the environment, the travel industry is looking to clean up its image. And in many cases, consumers are driving the change and supporting it with their dollars. Now beyond sending requests for proposals and securing contracts, meeting and event planners are calculating carbon emissions as part of the effort to help businesses and organizations go greener.

To help coordinate disparate efforts, this summer, the U.S. Travel Association launched a new Sustainable Travel Coalition to help align the travel, transportation and technology sectors in developing and advancing strategies to enable a more sustainable future for the broader U.S. travel industry.

U.S. Travel has several long-term goals, which will inform the coalition’s near-term policy priorities. The long-term goals include:

  • Spotlighting industry progress by showcasing innovative technologies and calling attention to the ongoing actions and leadership of travel professionals in the sustainability space.
  • Amplifying industry goals and commitments to conservation, best practices, waste and emission reductions, and both long- and short-term investments.
  • Highlighting why sustainability matters and the importance of it as a core to travel’s future.
  • Identifying and promoting proactive policies to help the industry achieve its goals.
  • Defending against harmful policies that slow progress toward sustainability goals or penalize the industry without progress.

“Seeing the world and saving the world should not be mutually exclusive,” says Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy. “As technology advances and consumers demand more sustainable travel options, the work of this coalition will ensure that the U.S. travel industry can meet the needs of an evolving market, while also protecting our planet’s natural resources.”

With nearly 60 member organizations at launch, the Sustainable Travel Coalition will serve as an advisory body to inform U.S. Travel on sustainability issues, opportunities and concerns within member organizations and destinations. A dedicated Policy Committee will help drive the broader coalition’s efforts to enable regular progress and collaboration.

Are You on Board?

To accelerate investment in sustainable travel, more than 100 travel industry organizations — including groups within and outside the Sustainable Travel Coalition — called on the federal government to advance the following near-term priorities in a letter to Congress:

  • A tax credit for the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), such as those proposed in the Sustainable Skies Act.
  • An enhanced tax credit to increase the availability of electric vehicle charging stations.
  • An enhanced tax deduction to increase energy-efficiency upgrades to commercial buildings.
  • Federal investments to protect and restore natural attractions, including recreational waterways, shorelines and national parks.
  • Other clean energy incentives for investment in renewable energy deployment, green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, direct air capture and other innovative technologies to lower the carbon intensity of transportation fuels and the power grid.

Are you on board? For more information, please visit ustravel.org/programs/sustainable-travel-coalition.