Forget last-minute deals and frequent flyer points, our travel bookings are going green. Enter the world of ecotourism. The idea of ecotourism isn’t an entirely new concept that has been invented by modern-day marketers and championed by millennials. In fact, it’s been around for decades, but it’s only now that it has become a huge influencing factor when deciding where we go and where we stay. According to research company Stylus, an overwhelming majority of travellers (87%) say they want to see the world sustainably. And 68% intend on staying in eco-friendly accommodation.
The worldwide trend towards ecotourism is no surprise when you consider the enormous impact that modern travel has had on our planet. Travel has truly been democratised in the 21st century due to the combination of cheaper airfares, rapid globalisation and the rising middle-class in markets like China, opening up a whole new generation of travellers – some seeing the world for the first time in their family’s history. And let’s not forget the unrelenting power of social media, where platforms like Instagram have made travel more accessible, desirable and covetable. Sadly, this confluence of forces have also turned some of the earth’s most beautiful places into the most well-trodden; overrun with tourists scrambling for that perfect instagrammable shot for their social feeds.
As a result, some popular destinations around the world have now chosen to limit or restrict visitation numbers in an effort to protect their local ecosystems and residents (Barcelona, Venice and Maya Bay in Thailand have been the most vocal in their stance against overtourism). Whether we like it not, our environmental impact is going to shape the future of travel in ways we have not witnessed before.
The good news is that more travel companies will consciously design unique, eco-friendly escapes where going ‘green’ doesn’t have to mean shacking up in a tent or couch-surfing. Ecotourism is now the new luxury when it comes to travel. Think unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, off-the-grid luxury and accommodation that integrates seamlessly into the surrounding ecosystem. Feeling inspired? Here are our favourites to add to your bucket list for your next getaway.
Slated to open in 2021, Svart is an incredible concept straight out of a futuristic sci-fi novel. Located above the Polar Circle in Norway, Svart will be the world’s first energy-positive hotel. Its innovative circular design will allow the hotel to bridge both a glacier and a fjord, so we’re not kidding when we say this place looks truly out-of-this-world. It will also harvest enough solar energy to power the hotel and offset its construction, allowing it to reduce its yearly energy consumption by up to 85% compared to other hotels. Where do we sign up?
Sierra Escapes, Mudgee, Australia
Setting a new standard in glamping, Sierra Escapes offers beautiful eco-luxury accommodation in the rolling hills of wine region Mudgee, a 4-hour drive from Sydney, Australia. Completely off-the-grid, each of the 4 tents are secluded but filled with all the necessary comforts including a luxurious outdoor bathtub to take in the views. The Miljo team were lucky enough to stay here for a long weekend, and we can absolutely vouch for the 360 countryside views with nothing to disturb you for miles except the sound of peacefully grazing cows and alpacas in the distance.
Suarga Padang Padang Hotel, Bali
With its verdant natural ecosystem, the island of Bali is setting a standard for eco-travel. Modern hotels are rethinking the materials they use and choosing locally sourced and sustainable options. Take Suarga Padang Padang, located in the surfing heartland of Uluwatu in Bali, which cleverly blends modern design with sustainability at its heart. Built from recuperated wood from Borneo and bamboo materials, this stunning resort is completely powered by renewable energy. Most of its structure is also built on stilts, allowing for natural cooling ventilation with minimal impact on its surrounding flora and fauna. Ingenious.