Sustainable Travel Influencers & Eco-Friendly Tourism

Kristyn Snell (She/Her)

November 9, 2023

As our world becomes increasingly connected and informed, sustainability is becoming a common thread impacting consumers' decisions on everything from the brands they support and where they buy their food, to where and how they want to travel. Travellers are increasingly making conscious choices to support sustainability efforts and being mindful of their impact on the local community and environments where they travel.


We have seen the side-by-side comparisons of stunning glacier lakes contrasted with hundreds of people on the beaches, waiting for the perfect picture op. By using Influencer marketing, eco-friendly tourism destinations can promote lesser-known areas and encourage travellers to become more aware of their impact. Travel influencers play an important role in helping a destination promote off-the-beaten-path and eco-friendly destinations, using their platforms to drive positive change.


The rise of sustainable travel


As our impact on the planet becomes an increasingly important topic, the travel industry has made strides to invest in sustainable development and regenerative travel initiatives. Travellers are increasingly seeking eco-friendly and responsible options for their trips, such as accommodations with a lower carbon footprint and locally sourced food and products - even to the point of paying more to offset their impact. This trend has been fueled by the rise of sustainable travel influencers, who use their platforms to promote responsible tourism and highlight destinations that have gained popularity due to sustainable travel.


Sustainable Travel Influencers Promoting Responsible Tourism


Sustainable travel influencers have been instrumental in the rapid growth of eco-friendly tourism. These individuals are travel enthusiasts who have a genuine passion for the environment and a strong desire to promote sustainable and responsible travel practices. They use their social media presence and blogs to share stories of their journeys, along with tips and recommendations for eco-friendly travel.


Influencers work with the destinations to promote responsible tourism practices, such as highlighting lesser-known destinations, supporting local businesses, and learning about and respecting local cultures. By sharing their experiences and spreading awareness to their targeted audiences, they inspire their followers to make more conscious choices when they travel.


Destinations investing in sustainable tourism


The impact of sustainable travel influencers can be seen in the destinations they visit. Some destinations have gained in popularity due to their regenerative tourism efforts. Destinations like Iceland, Costa Rica, and New Zealand have become hotspots for sustainable tourism, primarily because of the influencers who have showcased their natural beauty and sustainable practices.


Collaborations Between Influencers and Sustainable Brands


A key element of influencer marketing for sustainable tourism is the alignment between sustainable travel influencers and environmentally responsible brands. Influencers gain credibility by promoting products and services that align with their eco-friendly values, so the efforts by a brand must be legitimate and significant.


For example, destinations like Banff and Lake Louise Tourism work with influencers to promote new transportation options to reduce traffic to popular alpine lakes such as Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. A destination could also share stories of conservation and informative safety messages about being “bear aware,” for example, to help inform travellers about wildlife.


Additionally, promoting lesser-known destinations, such as the Greek Islands of Kefalonia and Lesvos, are on the rise to support local economies and shift tourism from the oversaturated areas to other gems.


The challenges of sustainable travel influencer marketing


While influencer marketing has its advantages, it also comes with challenges in the context of sustainable travel. One major issue is ensuring the brand and influencer genuinely embrace and practice sustainable travel principles. Some may promote eco-friendly products and services solely for financial gain, which can lead to "greenwashing" and erode trust within the community.


Future trends in sustainable travel influencer marketing


As the tourism industry continues to adopt sustainability principles and developments to consider the human impact of travel, more and more destinations will have sustainable tourism products to promote. These trends are likely to shape the way influencers and brands work together to promote eco-friendly tourism:


Micro-influencers: Smaller, more niche influencers with highly engaged followings will become increasingly important due to the genuine connection they hold with their audience leading to real change within their communities.


Travelling locally: More consumers are opting to travel close to home to avoid the environmental impact of air travel, as it's known to contribute significantly to carbon emissions. Exploring your own backyard is also a great way to contribute to the economic sustainability of a destination.


Eco-conscious travel brands: Collaboration between influencers and brands will continue to extend eco-conscious travel products, from luggage made from recycled materials to reusable bags and cups to cut down on single-use plastics.


Uncovering lesser-known destinations: Travel influencers can promote sustainable tourism by seeking out places that are often overlooked and promoting them to their followers. By showcasing the natural beauty, culture, and unique experiences these destinations offer, they can entice their followers to explore the road less travelled


Ultimately, as travellers increasingly align their values with their choices, sustainable travel influencers will continue to play a significant role in steering the industry toward a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible future.

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