A Host’s guide to supporting sustainable tourism

Help your guests be more environmentally-friendly travelers with these tips.
By Airbnb on Apr 21, 2021
3 min read
Updated Apr 21, 2021


  • Make it easier for guests to use public transit by including popular routes and fare info in your guidebook

  • Highlight local environmental issues that might impact your guests’ stay, like wildfires or flooding

  • Recommend your favorite local businesses and farmer’s markets

Part of becoming a sustainable host is inviting your guests to join in, too. Because sustainability might be new to them, it’s helpful to explain ways they can make a difference.

To support you in educating your guests about environmentally-sustainable travel, we’ve compiled tips from our global community of Hosts and worked with the United Nations Environment Programme, an authoritative advocate for the global environment, and World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading conservation organization.

Read on to find out how you can promote environmentally-friendly travel.

Help guests find their way with public transportation

Short car trips are responsible for three-quarters* of transportation emissions, so encouraging your guests to use public transportation can make a big impact.

Since navigating new places can be daunting for travelers, help guests by adding bus, subway, or train information to your guidebook, including estimated fares and the best routes to local landmarks and the airport. You can also provide bikes for guests, or recommend a business where they can rent them.

Provide reusable containers

Plastic materials create a lot of waste and often aren’t recycled. Because plastic products are so harmful to the planet, it’s important to avoid buying them whenever you can.

To help discourage guests from purchasing plastic items during their stay, Superhost Tiffany in Hollywood Beach, California, provides reusable items like cups and water bottles for guests to use. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Superhost Nutth also lets guests know where to refill water bottles while they’re out exploring.

Reusable plates, silverware, and food storage containers can also allow your guests to enjoy outdoor meals while minimizing waste.

Celebrate local, environmentally-friendly businesses

Use your house manual or guidebook to tell guests about your favorite sustainable restaurant, farmers’ market, or shop that sources local and sustainable products. If there’s produce in season in your area, call that out too. “We have lots of suggestions in our guidebook of fabulous eateries that share our sustainable ethos,” says Superhost Anna in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

You can even highlight local products guests may want to sample or take home as a souvenir. In Tasmania, Australia, Superhost Merrydith leaves handmade honey and lavender soap for guests to use or take home.

Educate guests on ways to travel responsibly

In your house rules or house manual, you can ask guests to minimize waste, take shorter showers, drink filtered tap water, and keep the thermostat at preset levels. You can also post notes around your space to remind guests to shut off the lights before they leave and turn off the water when they’re brushing their teeth.

Superhost Omar in Mexico City creates videos guests can access from QR codes that explain the recycling process in his apartments and the harmful effects of single-use plastics.

Not only can these practices save you money, they can also attract guests who are trying to travel sustainably.

Inform guests about local environmental issues

Communities around the world are affected by environmental problems like wildfires, flooding, and extreme weather. By mentioning local issues in your house manual, you can educate your guests on how to be responsible travelers—and inform them of risks they may not experience at home, like air pollution or drought.

For example, in areas with poor air quality, it's best to avoid outdoor activities on high pollution days or engaging in activities that add to pollution, such as driving, barbecues, or lighting fireworks.

Highlight how environmentally friendly your listing is

By emphasizing the steps you’re taking in your listing description and your house manual, you can let potential guests know you care about the environment.

If you provide guests with things like biodegradable hand soap or reusable water bottles, remember to showcase that in your listing too.

Incorporating these ideas into your hosting routine can help make an impact on the planet—and allow guests to experience life like a local. We know that adopting sustainable practices takes time, so we’re compiling more resources to help you along the way.

NEXT: Learn how one Superhost is becoming more sustainable

*From World Wildlife Fund’s
60 Actions for the Planet, published March 5, 2021

Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

Apr 21, 2021
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