Are Sustainable Tourism and Luxury Mutually Exclusive?

The rise of sustainable tourism has been explosive among American travelers in recent years. Time and time again, U.S. travelers say they’d seek out, pay more for, and travel further for “greener” accommodations and activities when they travel. At the same time, as the average age of the U.S. traveler rises the demand for luxury tours and tourism activities is also on the rise. How can these two seemingly opposing forms of travel both be satisfied at once?

The Rise of Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism is the gold standard in eco-travel. More and more, travelers are looking for trips that both delight the mind and engage the body while also positively impacting the natural and societal environment of the immediate area. Controlled, environmentally responsible tourism is one of the easiest ways to grow the economy of a local area and its people.

What makes tourism “sustainable?” Protection and conservation of the natural environment is paramount, and should be considered from both an adventure and accommodation standpoint. Additionally, tourism that gives back to the people and places around it – such as by donating money to water quality efforts or by safeguarding local wildlife species – is essential for maintaining harmony between travelers and the natural world.

Experienced Travelers Look for Luxury & Sustainability

As the massive Baby Boomer generation begins retiring and coming into more discretionary income, they’re traveling more. The average Boomer takes 4-5 leisure trips a year, and nearly a quarter say they’ll actively seek out ‘luxury adventure travel’ when they do. Spending over $120 billion a year on leisure travel, this generation is discerning when it comes to everything from food to lodging to spa services, and it shows.

For many, sustainable luxury tours are the ultimate in eco-focused leisure travel. Spending time at a world class spa resort, for example, is most enjoyable when juxtaposed against an eco nature hike among undisturbed canyons, finished off with a five-star gourmet picnic and panoramic view. Knowing that a luxury destination makes measurable, consistent efforts to safeguard the health and longevity of its natural surroundings is – and is expected to remain – an important factor for today’s traveler.

How Can Luxury Tours and Eco Tours Overlap?

Today’s luxury travel is about more than private planes and poolside cocktails, just as today’s eco tours are a far cry from mosquito nets and compost toilets (*Link here to that article once live!). It’s relatively simple to observe and engage with a natural location’s ecosystem without interrupting it, and having properly trained local guides is a good first step to minimizing traveler impact. As far as lodgings are concerned, tourists should look for resorts or lodges that attempt to integrate seamlessly with the natural surroundings, as well as for qualifications such as LEED-certified travel accommodations. Food is at its most sustainable when it’s sourced and prepared locally which is, incidentally, when it’s also at its most delicious!

It’s entirely possible to enjoy nature without disturbing it – travelers simply need to choose their luxury tour adventures wisely. Ted Turner Expeditions specializes in providing exactly the kind of luxury ecotourism experiences today’s travelers are looking for, all within the expansive properties of conservationist Ted Turner himself. Contact our team of travel professionals today at 1.877.288.7637 to start planning your next adventure.