Storytelling for a sustainable future

Travellers are looking for sustainable travel experiences more and more. Learn how to engage travellers with authentic storytelling strategies.
Storytelling for a sustainable future

How to effectively communicate sustainability initiatives

In 2023, the travel landscape is shifting as the demand for sustainable and regenerative travel experiences continues to surge.’s 2023 Sustainability Travel Report highlights the profound impact of pressing challenges, such as extreme climate events, overtourism, and environmental degradation, on traveler preferences and behaviors. In fact, a staggering 76% of travellers have expressed a strong inclination towards adopting more sustainable travel practices in the past year.

The pivotal success of the travel industry now hinges upon its ability to tap into this growing consumer momentum. However, a significant challenge lies in the fact that numerous travel businesses are at a loss for how to effectively communicate their sustainability initiatives with their clientele. Given the escalating demand for sustainable options, mastering this communication is more critical than ever before.

“76% of travellers have expressed a strong inclination towards adopting more sustainable travel practices in the past year” –

Communicating sustainability in an authentic way

It’s not enough to simply implement sustainability practices into your business or destination; it must be communicated in a way that reaches and engages travellers and consumers. Authentic communication of your sustainability efforts is vital on multiple fronts. It builds trust with consumers, meeting their growing expectations for eco-conscious practices and providing a competitive edge in the market. Genuine sustainability efforts inspire positive change among travellers and underscore a long-term commitment to sustainability. In essence, authenticity in sustainability communication is a linchpin for business success, customer loyalty, and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Communicating sustainability in an authentic way

Importance of storytelling to communicate sustainability

So, what are the best ways to communicate your sustainability efforts to your audience? This is where storytelling comes in. Storytelling is a powerful tool for communicating sustainability, and it’s a vital strategy for effectively conveying the importance of sustainability in a way that resonates and inspires your audience:


Stories have a unique ability to captivate and engage audiences emotionally. By weaving sustainability into a compelling narrative, it becomes relatable, resonates with people’s values, and forges a deeper connection between the message and the audience.

Humanising sustainability

Stories humanise abstract sustainability concepts by putting faces and emotions behind them. They help convey the real-life impact of sustainable practices on individuals, communities, and the planet, making sustainability more tangible and relatable.


People tend to remember stories far more effectively than dry facts or statistics. When sustainability initiatives are communicated through storytelling, they become memorable, ensuring that the message lingers in the minds of the audience.

Inspiration and motivation

Sustainability storytelling can inspire and motivate action. When individuals hear stories of positive change and progress, they are more likely to be inspired to adopt sustainable behaviors and support sustainability initiatives.

Building a brand narrative

For businesses and organisations, storytelling can help build a strong brand narrative around sustainability. This narrative can differentiate the brand, create a memorable identity, and attract customers who align with its values.

At GLP, we recognize the importance of storytelling in tourism content, not only because a destination’s lifeblood is its people, but also because these are the tales that so many travellers treasure. Fundamentally, the places we promote in the travel industry are also people’s homes. When local voices share their stories, it’s like they’re opening a door and welcoming us in. So we like to always keep people at the center of the picture.

4 tips for including storytelling in your communication plans

Tip 1: Be transparent

There is a lot of greenwashing out in the world, and people are really skeptical when businesses make grand claims about sustainability but then the details are obscure, or worse, nonexistent. Including a narrative surrounding why you care about sustainability can help build a connection with your audience, and that’s important.

It’s equally important to then follow up the narrative with specific, transparent information showing what you’re actually doing in your sustainability. What are your specific, measurable goals, how do you plan to go about achieving them, what progress have you actually made so far, and what can we expect from you in the future? The importance of transparency cannot be overstated.

Recommended by Malena Gatti, GLP Films’ Content Marketing Manager

Tip 2: Use visual storytelling (specifically video)

Utilise multimedia content such as videos, photos, and interactive maps to tell your sustainability story visually. Video, especially, is a powerful medium. In the entertainment and information world, video is now king. In fact, according to HubSpot research, 54% of consumers said they wanted to see more videos from brands they support. Video crosses all audiences, from shareholders to employees to consumers, and can engage them in ways that other mediums cannot.

Carefully crafted films with characters and stories take your target audience into the heart of a place, where they are moved by the stories, feel the ancient paths underfoot, smell the snowy air and smile at the warmth of an act of kindness from your host. Good storytelling content captures these senses in advance of travel, giving audiences a reason to care and giving brands a vehicle to be real.

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Tip 3: Showcase local voices

It’s essential to choose the right people to communicate your story. By highlighting the perspectives and opinions of local communities, guides, and businesses in your storytelling, you can provide a more personalized and engaging message to viewers. Empowering locals to share their stories about how sustainable tourism initiatives have positively impacted their lives and environment adds authenticity to your story and promotes community involvement in sustainability initiatives.

Recommended by Grace Klopp, GLP Films’ Communications Manager

Tip 4: Have a plan

A successful journey usually starts with a look at a map. “Where are we going? How do we get there?” Plotting a good story follows a similar path. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. We find that our most successful stories begin with the ending. Ask yourself, “Why are we telling this story? What do we want to achieve? Are we trying to inspire an action, evoke a feeling, share information…?”

Starting with a simple story objective can help with the “blank page anxiety” that storytelling can provoke. By answering top-of-mind questions or identifying the problem to solve, the elements of the story come together. And by road-mapping your narrative strategy, you can keep checking in throughout the process to make sure you are on the right track to reach your destination.

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Sustainability: more than a buzzword

In short, sustainability is much more than a buzzword; it’s a transformative force shaping the travel industry. By embracing genuine communication and the art of storytelling, businesses and destinations can navigate this evolving landscape, inspire travellers, and contribute to a more sustainable future. At GLP, we understand that behind every travel destination are people–and their unique stories can be one of the most powerful ways for destinations to connect with sustainable travellers worldwide.


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Good Tourism Institute: sustainable today, travel tomorrow

Roadmap to sustainable travel success (free Ebook)

Discover 6 proven paths to best-selling sustainable travel experiences.