Weekly Thought-Starter #006: Exploring Eco-Tourism

Date:Monday, December 17, 2018
Author:Charlie Gilbert

An overwhelming majority of travellers (87%) want to see the world sustainably. And 68% intend on staying in eco-friendly accommodation.

Eco-tourism. It’s been around since the 90s, but only recently has it started becoming an absolute priority for travellers and travel companies.

Its evolution is fascinating, which is why we’ve tracked it in Exploring Eco-Tourism. Published last week, it uncovers how hospitality brands are meeting the demands of vacationers who care more than ever about their environmental footprint.

One way is by re-thinking the materials they use. Take Janeiro, which opened in Rio de Janeiro in September. This collaboration between hotelier Carlos Werneck and designer Oskar Metsavaht uses resources as varied as recycled PET and leather made from piraruçu fish skin.

Another is to develop, and foster, sustainable communities. On an archipelago off British Columbia in Canada lies Ocean House. Opened earlier this year, and accessible only by plane and boat, it’s entirely owned and run by Haida First Nations People of Canada – and culture, alongside adventure activities, naturally features in its offering.

Another still is to explore luxury escapism. Few places do this better than Svart (profiled in our 2019 Look Ahead), which, when it opens in Norway in 2021, will become the world’s first energy-positive hotel.

Built from naturally occurring local materials like stone and weather-resistant wood, and powered by solar panels and geothermal wells, the hotel will offer 360° views of the spectacular Svartisen glacier.

How could the ecotourism trend impact your brand? Well, Juliet Kinsman, founder of London-based Bouteco – a travel platform celebrating sustainable stories – told us that “it’s more important than ever for brands to cultivate a voice that people want to hear, and to sound human. [Hotels, and perhaps brands more widely, should] weave their tales of social, environmental and economical sustainability into their brand story.”

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