Luxury travel: 50 wealthy tourists, eight countries ... and one giant carbon footprint

(The Guardian, 18 Jan 2020) Despite the climate crisis, ‘no emission spared’ round-the-world holidays in private jets are selling out.

Forget cruises. The super-rich have found a new way to see the world in the luxurious style of an ocean liner but taking a fraction of the time: private jet round-the-world tours.

This week, 50 members of the wealthy elite will board a privately chartered Boeing 757 to begin a 24-day guided tour of the globe, taking in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, the Galápagos islands and mountain gorillas in Rwanda.

The trip involves 10 flights, 23 nights in five-star hotels or lodges, meals in some of the world’s most famous restaurants, champagne and “every single tip”. Thrown in are tour guides, an engineer, seven cabin crew, a chef and an “expedition physician”.

The cost is £108,000 a person for couples, or £118,800 for one. The cost to the environment is the emission of 13 tonnes of carbon dioxide per passenger, according to research for the Observer by analysts at the clean transport campaign group Transport and Environment. It would take a typical family of four driving to their annual holiday on the south coast of France more than 30 years to rack up the same emissions. Going by train, they could make the same trip 150 times before reaching the same level of emissions.

The jet used for the trip, which is described by the organiser, TCS World Travel, as “the Ferrari of commercial jets”, has been designed for well-heeled clients. The plane, which can carry up to 295 passengers, has been reconfigured to accommodate 50 customers in business class seats. The carbon footprint will be almost six times more per person than if the plane was filled with economy class travellers. TCS said it had paid to offset all flights.

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The Guardian, 18 Jan 2020: Luxury travel: 50 wealthy tourists, eight countries ... and one giant carbon footprint