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Sustainable tourism needs to be a collaborative effort, says EV expert

In this week’s Net Hero Podcast, we spoke to Gavin Brooking, Managing Director of sightseeing bus company, Tootbus who told us that the tourism sector is increasingly focusing on sustainability

In this week’s Net Hero Podcast, Gavin Brooking, Managing Director of electric sightseeing bus company, Tootbus told us about how they’re decarbonising tourism in the UK.

Gavin said: ‘We are retrofitting buses and by doing so we are upcycling. So not only are we being sustainable, rather than throwing a bus away and buying a new EV bus, which would probably cost about £600,000. We are instead taking our older buses and taking the engines out. And then our retrofitting partner, Magtec are putting in a drivetrain, the batteries and away we go.

‘You look at a service bus and those are often retired after 7 years of use. So what I do is, take the tops off of these red buses and retrofit them. It turns them into a brand new bus with another 10 to 15 years of shelf life.

‘We’re also doing these retrofits in the UK so there’s fewer travel emissions.’

Gavin stressed the importance of educating both the public and tourist companies on the importance of sustainability.

He said: ‘A lot of it is down to education.

‘As people become more aware of sustainability in tourism, of electric vehicles and alternative fuels. And it needs to be supported by everyone involved, by governments, tourism authorities and businesses. And it needs to be a part of the tourist destination’s message.

‘Sustainability might not be the best financial decision that a business can make currently but it is a decision that we collectively have to make.’

Gavin told us that Tootbus aims to be the first sightseeing bus company to fully decarbonise by 2030.

He said: ‘We have set ourselves the target of being completely zero carbon footprint by 2030. We started in 2021 by changing our internal combustion buses to a biofuel made from waste oil, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO).

‘The second thing we did is we started retrofitting some of our buses. These buses were originally internal combustion bus, so a normal diesel bus and we have turned them into full electric sightseeing buses.

‘So we have 82 buses, four of which are electric. Six more electric buses coming next year and so on until 2030.

‘We are also the first open-top bus company in the world that has now installed a solar panel system on the roof of our garage so we are generating 100% clean energy.’

Watch the full episode below. Tootbus will be at the Big Zero Show so register now to find out more about how they are decarbonising both tourism and transport.

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