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A blue footprint for transparency in climate protection

The six panellists discuss on stage

Customers should be made even more aware of climate protection in future

The tourism industry is making great progress towards transparency in calculating and communicating the carbon footprint of trips. The organisation KlimaLink has developed an ISO-certified system for calculating and transparently communicating harmful travel emissions. On Thursday at the ITB Berlin Convention, together with Swantje Lehners of KlimaLink and other industry representatives, Xenia zu Hohenlohe and Dr. Willy Legrand discussed what this means for the tourism industry and what challenges lie ahead in order to achieve net zero.

“We want to make a carbon footprint visible at the point of sale – that will make choosing sustainable travel significantly easier“, was how Swantje Lehners explained the idea behind KlimaLink (, development of which will see it being launched in the second half of the year. Following the precise collection of data, its presentation will be very simple – a blue footprint will indicate the magnitude of a trip’s emissions. The aim is to be able to collect the CO2 equivalent for train, air, bus and car travel as well as for hotel overnights by the middle of the year, and for cruises, holiday apartments and local activities during the second six months.

Dr Ingo Burmester, CEO of DER Touristik Central Europe, which supports the project, sees a number of benefits. Transparency could make it easier for organisers to help customers choose sustainable travel. They would be helping his company, whose Sentido Galomar Ecohotel in Madeira is energy-independent, to further improve its services. DER Touristik also wanted to help partner companies to become more climate-friendly. Burmeister saw good chances of the hotel industry achieving net zero, but was much more sceptical of air travel. It was urgently necessary to conduct more research on sustainable aviation fuels, he said.

However, changing consumer behaviour will still take time. Markus Orth, managing director of Lufthansa City Center Reisebüropartner GmbH, said that currently only two per cent of all travel bookings specifically follow sustainability criteria. This applied in particular to private customers, who were very price-conscious. Orth was more optimistic about the business travel market. “We have over 20,000 business travel customers in Germany alone. More and more are requesting sustainable travel,” Orth said.