Dutch tour operator Sunweb, which is also active in Belgium, has revamped its holiday offer and will no longer invest in CO2 emissions offsets, instead offering train travel, the company announced on Tuesday.
The company has seen a rise in demand for more sustainable vacations, so is investing in this area. Its subsidiary Eliza will offer 12-day train holidays from the Netherlands to southern Italy.
“As a large travel organisation, we now also offer train journeys and cruises. We are making these modes of transport more accessible to more people," said Sunweb Group's CEO Mattijs ten Brink in a press release.
"Holidays are becoming increasingly customised and we are proud to be able to provide our customers with new and unique holiday memories," he said. "The train trip to Puglia is a first step; later this year we also expect to offer train trips to our winter sports destinations."
Persuading travellers to take the train
The journey to Puglia, in the south of Italy, is a pilot project that will start in June. Sunweb Group hopes to "seduce" travellers to take more sustainable modes of transport.
The holiday starts in Amsterdam, Utrecht or Arnhem and will arrive in Bari (Puglia) after a two-day train journey via Basel (Switzerland) and Milan (northern Italy). Electric rental cars will be available at Puglia to take travellers to their accommodation.
The project is part of the company's push for sustainability. Sunweb Group has decided to stop investing in CO2 compensation and will instead invest in making its own provision more sustainable. This will include measures such as increasing the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) with Transavia.
SAF is the most sustainable fuel, emitting at least 75% less CO2 than fossil kerosene. The company aims to use more SAF every year.
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"There is a lot of doubt about whether offsetting CO2 is effective, and that is why we choose to invest in other ways that have an immediate and long-term effect," said ten Brink. "This includes reducing our environmental footprint in the air, but also supporting local initiatives that have a direct impact on the communities around our destinations."
Customers who have booked a Sunweb holiday before 1 June and still want to compensate for the expected CO2 emissions can still do so.