2017 Has been named the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Even though there are plenty of destinations that claim to do their best to minimise their impact on the planet, there are a few who really stand out. Consider this your go-to eco holiday shortlist.
1. SONEVA FUSHI – MALDIVES
Eva and Sonu Shivdasani were the first to build their resort here. The castaway resort proved everyone wrong and has been fully carbon neutral since 2014. More than this, the resort recycles 90% of their waste, including 100% food waste which they use in their organic garden. The construction includes building blocks that are made from Styrofoam packaging, while all the glass goes to their on-site studio where it is transformed into works of art. Electricity comes from the solar-based system, while all the water that is used is desalinated. Soneva also has a property in Thailand, and a second one in the Maldives. They also led the way to implementing a mandatory 2% carbon levy on rooms.
2. BOM BOM RESORT – SAO TOME
The resort comprises only 18 bungalows on the beach and are surrounded by tropical forest. Among the activities that travellers can experience are: scuba diving, hiking in UNESCO Biosphere reserves, visiting cocoa plantations, and fishing villages. Moreover, tourists can see the wildlife in its natural form, from whales to nesting turtles, monkeys and unique birds.
3. EXTREME HOTEL – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The resort is 100% solar powered and not air-conditioned on purpose, but with intelligent ventilation to obtain a natural windy beach atmosphere to circulate cool air. There are also rainwater collection systems that are used to manage water consumption, as well as an organic farm that has 2,000 trees that aim to further offset carbon emissions. More than that, the hotel aims to empower the community through education, training and work opportunities for local residents, who account for more than 70% of employees.
4. INKATERRA, TAMPOPATA NATIONAL RESERVE – PERU
There are four cabanas with private terraces that provide more comfort than one might expect. There are also larger pavilions for shared living. Tourists can experience a canopy walkway high above the forest floor, boat trips and visits to the Gamitana Model Farm.
The Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve has waste water processing, sustainable organic farming, and energy-saving initiatives. However, they have made their mark through reintegration of endangered species. The reserve is home to the Cape Mountain zebra, which was saved from the brink of extinction. Community participation includes supporting schools, clinics, youth camps and even the refurbishment of a museum.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou