IT is a dilemma facing many an environmentally-conscious young traveller – how to see the world without leaving behind a giant carbon footprint.

While their grandparents may have had to rough it on the hippy trail, and their parents had the luxury of the age of cheap mass travel, anyone wishing to spread their wings in 2020 must also consider the cost their trip might bring to the planet.

Now tourism agency VisitScotland is betting on today’s travellers taking a back-to-basics approach to seeing the sights, and are predicting that rail travel will boom due to awareness of “green” issues in the coming years.

And tomorrow’s travellers are also likely to try an offset the ecological impact of their trip by “voluntouring” – working as they go – instead of jetting in and jetting out as tourists.

In an analysis of future travel patterns, the government-funded body said that modern travellers are seeking a “fashionable and responsible tourism experience”, after “concern over natural resources, climate change and the natural environment” pushed its way to the forefront of many consumers’ minds.

The research added: “Individuals are increasingly aware of their personal impact of their behaviours.

“This is increasingly having profound effects on consumerism, travel, food and work.”

Edinburgh was named one of the world’s hotspots for “overtourism” – along with Rome, Barcelona, Venice and Amsterdam.

In Scotland, the North Coast 500, in the Highlands, is also subject to the phenomenon, along with locations linked to hit TV show Outlander.

Future marketing campaigns are expected to focus on solo travellers of all ages – and “embracing single life in

a positive affirmation of their individuality”.

This is intended to reflect the growth of single households and that fact younger generations are increasingly delaying relationships to focus on careers and personal development.

The new research highlights a growing move towards “experiential tourism” with holidaymakers looking for a break, which will have “meaning, challenge, connection and impact”.

Chris Greenwood, senior insight manager at VisitScotland, said: “For tourism businesses in Scotland to remain competitive, it is important to be informed of the trends and drivers which will be influencing the

behaviour of travellers now and in to the future.

“Visitors are continuing to seek an authentic experience, but one which isn’t at the expense of the destination.

“This presents an exciting opportunity for Scottish tourism to develop a world-class experience that benefits both the visitor and the local community, whilst protecting the environment which attracts travellers in the first place.”

The more informal trend in travel was mirrored at an event in Edinburgh where the Duke of Sussex asked to be introduced just as Harry as he described Scotland’s tourism industry as being at the “forefront” of making the sector more sustainable.

The prince was speaking at the Travalyst event at the EICC in Edinburgh yesterday.

He told the Travalyst event the industry in Scotland was at the forefront of making the sector greener, saying it could set an example for the rest of the UK and world.

“We want to hear truths and perspectives from across the industry,” he said.

“We don’t need to reinvent the

wheel, a lot of great work has already been done.”

The duke founded the Travalyst coalition along with brands including, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, and Visa to gain feedback on new ideas for sustainability.