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Green is the way to go: Millennials now opt for sustainable, low carbon footprint holidays

Hotels should look to lower their carbon footprint, and protect the ecology.

Nov 16, 2019, 09.14 AM IST
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A recent survey by travel company Luxury Escapes India showed that more millennials in India want to take conscious, ‘lower-carbon-footprint’ holidays than Gen Z and Gen Y travellers.
A recent survey by travel company Luxury Escapes India showed that more millennials in India want to take conscious, ‘lower-carbon-footprint’ holidays than Gen Z and Gen Y travellers.
More hotels and resorts across the country offer lower-carbonfootprint holidays, report Varuni Khosla & Sreeradha D Basu.

Tourists often ignore, or don’t realise, the impact they leave on the environment and local community of their destinations — like, for example, how the plastic bottles and earbuds they throw away choke marine life or pollute the soil as they take up to 400 years to decompose. But things may be changing for the better: more millennials are opting for ‘greener’ holidays, and many resorts, homestays and hotels across the country from Gir and Bandhavgarh to Andamans and Kerala are working to build a conscious client base.

A recent survey by travel company Luxury Escapes India showed that more millennials in India want to take conscious, ‘lower-carbon-footprint’ holidays than Gen Z and Gen Y travellers.

“Sustainable travel is a high priority for millennials as compared to other generations,” said Arun Ashok, country head at Luxury Escapes that surveyed 2,000 Indians across age categories. “People often think sustainable travel is only applicable to the wealthy. But budget conscious travellers are also showing an interest in sustainable travel,” he said.

And the industry is moving in that direction.

In Saurashtra, the Black Buck Lodge has several signages throughout its property that read: ‘We do not inherit the earth from our parents. We only borrow it from our children’. The wildlife resort in Velavadar National Park puts an effort to educate its guests about sustainable travel, a trend much in vogue in the West.

Down south, Dewalokam eco-homestay in the deep interiors of Idukki in Kerala, operates in an age-old tradition of sustainable life in tropical forest areas. Its proprietors Jose Dewalokam and his wife often take their guests though the principles of organic farming.

Black Buck and Dewalokam are among an increasing number of resorts across the country working towards reducing their carbon footprint.

All tourism can become sustainable and all hotels must work towards that, said Rachel Dodds, director of boutique consulting firm Sustaining Tourism.

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Hotels should look to lower their carbon footprint, and protect the ecology, she said. “They should have a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. That is, they should be environmentally, socially and economically sound.”

Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Company that runs Taj Hotels launched its first zero single-use-plastic resort in the Andamans. The resort follows sustainable practices. No tree was cut for its construction in the jungle-like area and construction covered less than 30% of land.

The property has seen a rapid rise in the number of travellers who actively seek information on environment and social impacts to guide their travel decisions, said a company official.

Malaysian chain Amatra Hotels, which runs three resorts in India, plans to move to a “zero waste concept” by 2022. There will be no discharge of hotel waste that is hazardous to land, water or air when burnt or buried, officials said. The group is also introducing biodegradable packaging for its in-room amenities to woo conscious travellers.

Luxury Escapes in May this year launched a ‘Conscious Collection’ initiative whereby it ties up with properties that have made a conscious effort to promote eco-tourism and sustainability.

Pugdundee Safaris, which operates jungle lodges in central India, has its properties set up in large forested estates with natural forest and no landscaping. The construction covers just 2%-5% of the land. It removed bottled water from its lodges since 2015-16, saving more than 139,000 plastic bottles so far. Most travellers when briefed, love the idea of sustainable travel and support it, said general manager Sangeeta Kakaria.

Rohet Garh in Jodhpur takes its visitors to a village that the hotel helps maintain, thereby contributing towards sustainability and the ecology of the area.

Many parents love to take their children to Dune Eco Beach resort in Puducherry where they get to visit the hotel’s organic farm and learn about recycling.

Fairbnb.coop, an ethical homesharing platform, is contemplating entering India to promote similar tourism here. “India is a big market and a country rich in culture and art, something that would definitely appeal to the kind of sustainability conscious traveller we speak to and we are considering India as a viable country to come to,” said Emanuele Dal Carlo, founder of Fairbnb.

The organisation gives back 50% of its earnings to the local community.
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