There is a lot to be said about a resort, hotel, or luxury vacation experience which embraces and celebrates all things sustainable. And while venues and destinations all over the world have taken their own steps to support the natural world, including cutting back on single use plastic and embracing the power of solar, this article introduces you to ten of the locations which have upped their game and taken sustainable travel to the next level.
1. Adharia Luxury Floating Suites
The first on our list is one without boundaries – tied to no single destination, but rather a concept on offer to all those waterside resorts who are looking for something new to bring 5* travellers in. The floating suites are built on sustainability, requiring no land footprint and operating with zero impact on the environment. Not only that, but they can be used across all water sources from rivers to the ocean to reservoirs and canals, and present travellers with the perfect isolated and intimate travel option which puts them right in the heart of their natural surroundings.
Slovenia is one of the least tourist-filled countries in Central Europe, and yet it presents a have for the sustainable-minded traveller. The landscapes are uninterrupted and unmarked, with much of the countryside protected to preserve not just the appearance but the natural conservation of the land. Guests looking for a 5* experience in Slovenia can enjoy the vast and open lakes, the rivers and the alpine forests – with resorts and hotels ranging from the affordable to the optimum of luxury.
If you are looking for sustainability on your travels, there is no destination more natural or more dedicated to its ancient surroundings than Finland – with 80% of the country still covered in dense forest, and its air ranked as some of the cleanest air in the world. Engaging with and immersing yourself in nature is the aim of most who travel to Finland, with the tourist board providing visitors with a map of the most eco-friendly experiences and resorts to visit during their stay. The Capital city of Finland, Helsinki, upholds the country’s commitment to sustainability by running all public transport on water and wind powered electricity. A real example of sustainability in action – and how life can continue without interrupting the land.
Greece is a great example of how luxury experiences can be enjoyed hand in hand with protecting and safeguarding the natural environment, with local producers at the heart of both resident and tourist food and drink experiences. This means that almost everything you eat in Greece will have been produced locally, thanks to the ancient cultural tradition of celebrating local produce rather than shipping it in. Nowhere in the world can you enjoy fresher or finer seafood!
Famed for its rolling hills and harsh environment, Scotland has always been committed to sustainability and the environment. A great deal of the countryside is under rewilding contracts which aim to restore the surroundings to their most natural and uninterrupted state, meanwhile islands off the coast of Scotland are slowly starting to go completely off-grid – instead relying on natural resources such as wind and solar energy. Scotland is also a beautiful place to visit and enjoy and provides a wealth of natural and cultural experiences – plus a few destinations you might recognise from the movies.
Malawi relies on tourists to support their own economy, with most experiences designed to work with and directly finance local small businesses rather than outsourced larger companies. This means that every penny you spend on vacation experiences in Malawi is going straight to the community who need it, whether you’re eating or paying for a safari – rather than financing major companies.
Hawaii is a destination for those who want to enjoy the finest luxuries, in the most natural and peaceful surroundings. In terms of sustainability, Hawaii has taken steps to protect its coral reef by banning sun creams which contain harmful ingredients, and by supporting local producers in some of the most luxurious resorts.
8. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is considered a UNESCO site for protected nature, with more than a quarter of the land completely protected as park and reserve land. This means the land will never undergo deforestation or logging and will continue to support the vast array of species which make Costa Rica a hub of biodiversity. If you love wildlife and are looking for a destination in which to immerse yourself in unique and awe-inspiring natural experiences, Costa Rica is a haven of sustainability and species protection.
What better way to insist on sustainability than to get tourists to sign an eco-pledge before arrival? Palau, located in the Pacific Ocean, insists on all tourists promising to be environmental stewards during their stay, protecting and preserving both the land and the sea in their activities. For the island as a destination, Palau also protects its local community by preventing building on the natural landscape.
The final destination on our list is Portugal, which operates its tourism industry under a regulation that 90% of tourist businesses must comply with government rules regarding water, waste and energy use by 2027. This is designed to allow the coastline and culture of the country to be protected for future generations and years to come, and to ensure that the country remains a destination for travellers looking for a coastal escape. Portugal also invests heavily in educating locals about sustainability and what it means to be a sustainable tourist business, safeguarding the regulations and ensuring that they can be delivered effectively.
To be a sustainable destination is to be one which protects its environment without closing borders to tourists. The most successful destinations are those which factor tourism into their sustainability plans, ensuring that visitors are educated rather than put off in their strive for natural protection.