Circular travel: the travel future we really want

Circular Travel: the travel future we really want

Circular economy goes far beyond recycling. It is also fundamentally rethinking products and systems: smart design, reusability, disassembly, consumption models based on shared use ... The travel and tourism sector has a lot of work to do in this area. The sector's impact is significant and growing: tourism will double to 1.8 billion travellers a year by 2030. 

With this project, Route 2030, in collaboration with Joker Tourism, Via Via Tourism Academy and Karavaan vzw, aims to explore how the travel sector can evolve from a linear to a circular economy. As circular economy often requires a chain approach, we involved as many stakeholders as possible in the study. 

Specifically, we investigated where the opportunities of circular entrepreneurship lie in the tourism sector. To do so, we first learned to better understand the larger framework around circular economy, a.o. through inspiration sessions. Next, we discovered new opportunities and models for the sector and analysed how they can strengthen our current policy. Through a hackathon, we looked for concrete actions, which we developed into three experiments in the field. 

Finally, we explored how to create a circular mindset among tour guides and staff at Joker, Karavaan and ViaVia Tourism Academy.

Route 2030

Partners Joker Toerisme, Via Via Tourism Academy, Karavaan vzw





  1. During this journey, we and our partners learned to understand the larger framework of circular economy. Through research, inspiration sessions and many internal and external meetings, we discovered new circular opportunities and models for the sector. 
  2. We explored how circular principles can strengthen our policy and strategy. Via a hackathon, we came up with some concrete actions, such as travel material as a service, a circular early booking gift, an app for digitisation of travel documents ... 
  3. We launched a circular travel guide 'spectacularly circular' to make travel guides aware of the potential of circular economy. In this way, we also hope to encourage the development of circular concepts within the sector. 
  4. We developed an action list to increase the positive impact of travel. The list counts low-threshold actions that are mainly encouraging. Both travel organisations and individuals can use the list to value travel and travel plans.


  1. We learned what circularity can mean in the travel sector and why we need circular principles. Thus, circular travel encompasses a system that regenerates natural as well as social capital, respecting ecological boundaries and all stakeholders. 
  2. Due to the corona pandemic, the travel and tourism sector has faced very difficult times. Being able to deal flexibly with ever-changing situations, both here and globally, and adjust where necessary, is very important. 
  3. Strong stakeholder management is of great value. When we make decisions as a tour operator, it is at least as important to involve all the different stakeholders (employees, guides, local organisations and travellers) from the very beginning to create a solid support base. 
  4. We consciously cooperate with many different small and local organisations. With every decision we make, we also have to convince all our service providers to make the same choice. It takes time and patience to implement changes.
1 travel guide 'spectacularly circular'
400+ tour guides reached
1 design for circular toiletry bag
4 new circular projects


The circular principles have been well introduced and we can now build on them. We are convinced that during our group tours there will be a lot of cross-fertilisation between guides, local partners, participants, local people ...

The project itself will definitely be followed up: the travel guide will be further promoted, there will be more inspiration sessions for travel guides and developers, and the action list was added to the travel guide and used by all Karavaan guides.

Joker also foresees several circular actions in their policy and strategy. For example, all group travel participants will be actively encouraged through various channels to bring an eco-friendly toiletry bag, offset flights through Bos+, not use disposable plastic water bottles in Europe, and not use disposable plastic at the destination.