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Why Sustainability is Travelers’ Top Priority in 2020

In the world of luxury travel, there is greater environmental consciousness than ever before. Words like “footprint” and “community” are now part of the average traveler’s lexicon, and hotels, outfitters, and other travel businesses are making sweeping changes—from exploring carbon offset opportunities to adopting the principles of fair trade—in an effort to keep up.

As Telegraph writer Juliet Kinsman puts it in a recent article, “Rather than judging on luxury or looks alone, we’re heading into a new decade with our eco-instincts honed.”

The shift in the luxury traveler’s mindset is quite remarkable when considering that, just a decade or two ago, very few players in the hospitality space (especially outside Africa) were embracing the tenets of responsible travel. Now, hotels all over the world are jumping on the bandwagon, banning single-use plastics, rolling out recycling programs, and buying fleets of electric cars. These additions and modifications are, of course, meaningful and no good action goes unnoticed. But the properties that are really leading the charge for sustainability are the ones that have mastered the good-for-the-environment-and-easy-on-the-eyes design.

“I’m still seduced by good looks,” writes Kinsman, “but it’s gratifying to scratch the surface and discover forward-thinking, back-of-house behavior.”

Kinsmen then identifies several standout properties that are doing just that—including Luxury Frontiers’s new tented camp by Amangiri. The first-ever all-weather, year-round tented camp in North America, Camp Sarika by Amangiri comprises 10 luxury tents that exemplify superlative style and lightweight design. Not only do the accommodations incorporate expansive terraces with plunge pools and fire pits, but they also sport specialty canvas “walls” that are long-lasting, low maintenance, and can be recycled at a later stage, reducing the long-term environmental impact of the project. This canvas allows for fluid design and for each tented unit to visually blend in with the undulating surface of the desert.

Why Sustainability is Travelers’ Top Priority in 2020
Six tented pavilions at Camp Sarika by Amangiri.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri is but one of Luxury Frontiers’s projects that fuse sustainability and style, allowing for an unmatched guest experience. In Zambia at the newly revamped Puku Ridge—a collaboration among Chichele Safaris, Chiawa Safaris (the first carbon-neutral safari business in the world) and Luxury Frontiers—thoughtful, eco-friendly design allows for greater immersion in the property’s majestic surroundings.

Each of the property’s eight suites come outfitted with a private observation tower that looks out over the floodplain, giving guests the rare opportunity to see antelope, leopards, and other exotic animals from the privacy of their own room. Luxury Frontiers conceived the design of the tower and wrapped lightweight timber in a woven fiber canvas in order to achieve the “concrete canvas” look, which mimics the clay grain stores used in local villages but without the use of excessive concrete. And if guests should want to look up rather than out, there’s also the possibility to transform the rooftop into a star bed, complete with a mosquito-enclosed, four-poster bed that enables guests to sleep under the stars.

Why Sustainability is Travelers’ Top Priority in 2020
Puku Ridge’s starbed design is inspired by local grain stores. 

In Costa Rica at Nayara Tented Camp, which debuted late last year and has already racked up its share of accolades, Luxury Frontiers used locally-sourced building materials and implemented eco-sensitive building practices to create a vibe of barefoot luxury. Some of these features include eco-composite decking for the exteriors, low-energy fittings, and FSC-approved flooring.

Touches like these take eco-hospitality to the next level, creating an environment where travelers can have transformative experiences while also feeling rest assured that their enjoyment doesn’t come at the expense of damaging fragile ecosystems or threatening the livelihood of local communities.

Writes Kinsman, “Let’s have 2020 remembered as the year sustainability became more than an overused buzzword and herald the start of a decade where we change how we decide where we stay.”