A look at luxury travel and sustainability
The words ‘luxury’ and ‘sustainability’ don’t usually go together, but in recent years, travellers of all varieties are seeking to explore the world through a more ethical lens. Whether it’s clocking up air miles, losing track of your carbon footprint, or inadvertently supporting environmentally-unfriendly organisations, travel and tourism can often do a lot of harm to the surrounding environment, community and society.
It is therefore important to bear in mind the possible impact of your luxury travel so that you can fully enjoy your time abroad. This means that you can enjoy your trip, safe in the knowledge that you’ve played your cards right.
We’ve put together a list of various things to take note of the next time you’re jet-setting:
Pay attention to your accommodation
Choosing the right accommodation is the easiest one to get right. Simply seek out places that are respectful to their local community and environment, and have sustainable practices in place. Always opt for a hotel that is transparent about providing an environmentally friendly service. Take the GCH hotels, for example, a hotel group that lists the environment as one of their key company values. Other options include eco lodges or glamping possibilities that might be more locally-run.
In terms of temporary accommodation, Airbnb is a repeat offender in several cities across the world – especially New York, Berlin and Dublin. Its impact on the housing market is quickly reaching boiling point, with short-term rentals sky-rocketing and fewer long-term options available in many cities. Not only that, but it is also said to be disrupting communities and driving up rental prices. Before booking your next luxury Airbnb flat, consider your other options first.
Opt for locally-run organisations
Instead of choosing a faceless company with offices all across a country or even continent, choose something a bit more grassroots. This especially applies to tour operators: most local organisations are usually more in tune with the surrounding community and will deal with the knock-on effect of their organisation on a daily basis. What’s important here is to ensure that the money you spend on your tour, stays within the community and that the tour company involves locals in regular business operations.
Local culinary experiences
When it comes to food, eating out, and culinary experiences in general, a similar focus on the local community should apply. By simply opting for a locally-run restaurant as opposed to a global franchise, you are immediately investing in the local economy – this is one of the most simple and effective ways for tourism to have a positive impact on its surrounding environment. Additionally, visit the neighbourhood food markets instead of the large department stores.
Exploring the home-grown culinary scene this way not only has a positive economic impact, but also provides travellers with a taste for the district cuisine that they may not have received in other tourist-oriented establishments. Travellers are beginning to catch on and seek out “foodie-forward travel” themselves and focus more on regional food, local ingredients, and authentic experiences.