Luxury travel – the responsible way

 

In an age, where we are encouraged more and more to ensure we travel responsibly and embrace sustainable tourism, there is often a misconception that luxury holidays can literally ‘cost the earth’. Consumption of more than a fair share of water, energy and other local resources is typically the accusation made against such holidays. This belief is even stronger where the holidays are taken in developing countries with fragile environments, such as coral reefs and rainforests, and shortage of resources, such as water. The reality is that this is often very far from the truth. In fact it can be the luxury options that in many cases minimise environmental disturbance and offer long lasting employment and training benefits to local people.

It is true that a stay in a large all-inclusive resort with a mostly Western management, imported produce and 24/7 entertainment is not providing many benefits to local communities. More so, in a water-stressed environment, flat screen HD televisions & air-conditioning in each room and a 24 hour lit & heated swimming pools, will have a serious impact on your personal carbon footprint and also the local environment. There is no avoiding this.

However luxury holidays do not have to be about travelling long distances just to use the mod cons you can access at home. Luxury can be more about exclusivity and freedom, staying in wilderness areas, enjoying the solitude, peace and tranquillity that only such unique destinations can provide.

Imagine the scene at sunset on a Serengeti evening as the wildlife lazily drifts across the vast grassy plains. You and just a couple more holidaymakers enjoy a sundowner as the burning African sun sets into the bush. No large hotels, no large crowds, no background noises other than bush sounds, no tarred roads. Your tented lodge is designed to blend into the environment perfectly and the entire site can be dismantled at any time. There are no permanent structures at all and in fact many tented lodges do move to follow the Wildebeest migrating throughout the year. Yes tented accommodation, but extremely comfortable, with proper beds & furniture, en-suite bathrooms, warm water, flush loos, and solar panels providing you with lighting for bedtime reading. Excellent and delicious food prepared by top-chefs in the middle of the Serengeti. Now that is what I would call luxury.

It is also this responsible part of the luxury travel market, who employ local people, provide proper staff training and secure employment contracts. The best wildlife, diving or cultural tours in the world can fall apart very quickly when the guide is exposed as having limited knowledge. Genuine local staff know the environment and grew up with the wildlife around them. Your experience will be all the better for it.

We should not feel guilty for spending time immersed in luxury on our holidays. Pay for quality, pay for luxury, but chose the right options. People, who work with the local communities, who are sensitive to their culture & traditions and people who will give back to that community. People who will also take care of the environment. Only then can you relax in the knowledge that your hard earned tourist pounds, euros or dollars are putting something back into the locations you love to stay in.

To help you make the right choice, we will shortly present a series of the Top 3 Luxury & Green Lodges in a range of Southern and Eastern African destinations. The choice is quite overwhelming, but we stick to our principles and only pick those that fit the follow criteria:

  • Sustainability – environment, economics and culture
  • Owner managed or with strong owner involvement
  • Small (less than 20 rooms)
  • Unique location and exclusivity
  • Top quality food
  • Responsible travel awards & accreditations received

Paul Geiss is a Director at BAOBAB Travel Ltd.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Minna says:

    I stayed few nights at Oliver’s camp in Tarangire national park, Tanzania. This place is one of those beatiful eco-friendly camps, where you can feel the nature close to you – and when you wake up you can see that a lion has just walked behind your tent on previous night…

  2. Paul Giess says:

    Thanks Minna – Olivers was exactly the type of camp I had in mind when writing this. The owners have an excellent commitment to maintaining sustainabile tourism whilst providing a completely wild and luxurious experience. They also run camps elsewhere in Tanzania. If you are thinking of going back anytime be sure to look at booking an itinerary utilising all their camps as there are good discounts available.

  3. Minna says:

    Many thanks, Paul! I am sure I will look this – and I hope to go back at some point. I really liked the place:)

  4. Kay McMahon says:

    I’ve read about these places and they certainly do sound fantastic. I stayed in a tent in the Masai Mara for a few days and although it was a wonderful experience, it was far from luxurious! The food was great, though, and that’s saying something since I am probably one of the world’s fussiest eaters.

    I think it’s great that companies are now able to offer luxury options such as you describe, rather than having to kip in a bag on the tent floor and stumble to the toilet in the dark in the middle of the night.

  5. John says:

    Great post Paul, your scenario is closer to luxury than flying First Class halfway around the world to watch a large screen HD TV in a hotel room. Your approach is streets ahead of the competition.
    To be truly sustainable there are lots of points to consider and you appear to be addressing them. It is a big challenge to provide sustainable travel options.
    I wish you great success with your venture. Brilliant name by the way, I love baobab trees though we don’t have them where I spend my time.

  6. Emily says:

    I’ve found this post really useful thank you. We’re keen to encourage responsible tourism on Anglesey & I’m just researching the topic, I agree, it is often the exclusivity, freedom and uniqueness of a destination that make it feel luxurious & peace & tranquillity are a most definitely a rare commodity! I think your website is brilliant & I’m going to be taking a closer look to see if we can mirror your principles & encourage responsible tourism within the luxury market throughout North Wales.

Leave a Reply


Comment guidelines - please read:

1) Use your own name, not a site name or keywords.
2) Links are allowed in the 'Website' field only.
3) Please do not advertise and make sure your comment is relevant and adds value. (If you would like to advertise, there are a number of free and paid ways to do this - please contact us for details.) .





If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

 
 
Why stay in a hotel when you can rent an apartment?Why stay in a hotel when you can rent an apartment? : It is no secret that vacation rentals have become increasingly attract...
5 tried and tested travel accessories from my latest trip5 tried and tested travel accessories from my latest trip : For those who haven't seen my 'tried and tested' posts on A Luxury Tra...
Top 10 restaurants in LondonTop 10 restaurants in London : Besides the world-famous tourist attractions, acclaimed nightlife, ren...