Anne Majumdar

The future of tourism lies in the hands of responsible tour operators, according to youth travel specialist Busabout.

As a result, the company has implemented a number of measures designed to enhance the sustainability of its tours.

This year, Busabout has introduced new greener coaches to its hop-on hop-off routes.  The vehicles are said to “actually improve the air-quality in some polluted cities”, reducing Nitrogen Dioxide emissions by a further 65%.

The change takes its emissions to “almost neutral,” according to global managing director Duncan Robertson.

Busabout coach KarryOn

“That’s very important to some of our clients but we didn’t really do it for that reason,” he told KarryOn.

“It’s more because we’re very responsible in how we see the future of our business.”

Enabling clients to make a difference to the destinations they are visiting is also a focus, according to Robertson.

That includes the chance for travellers to trade in some of their holiday time to take part in projects which positively impact local communities and tourism.

For example, in Italy’s Cinque Terre, they can spend a day helping to conserve the popular UNESCO World Heritage areas that are threatened by rockfall.

Image credit: Busabout

So, are Busabout’s customers taking them up on the offer to chip in?

“Quite a few are,” Robertson revealed. “But not as many as we want. We’re going to keep pushing it.”

He believes the best way to do this is by sharing social media content generated by its clients while participating in these types of projects.

In fact, the brand is using user generated content (UGC) to promote its entire product range. Its latest brochure is 95% made up of UGC.

Image credit: @brigwhelan

Image credit: @brigwhelan

“The strategy was to show the Busabout experience as best we could,” Robertson said.

The changes are part of a concerted effort over the last two years to refine the company model and ensure it offers something “special and different”.

That means more “new and cool” destinations to cater to its “adventurous” clientele. For example, it recently expanded into Asia and this year is introducing new stops through Portugal and Spain, a foodie trip to Bologna and an off-the-beaten-path exploration of Eastern Europe. There’s also a new Winter Music Festival itinerary.

Duncan Robertson Busabout KarryOn

“Busabout has always had more adventurous travellers because they want more flexibility,” Robertson said.

“So we always want to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening.”

Is that a tough task?

“We have a really great team that is really focused on exactly that, so it hasn’t been too challenging,” Robertson said.

“But ask me in a few years’ time.”

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What do you think of Busabout’s latest offering?